Boys golf: Crown Point improving by playing outside region
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org May 21, 2013 10:26AM
Crown Point's Patrick Mudd chips to the 17th green during his round at the Uebele Invitational tournament in LaPorte Friday May 10, 2013. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 22, 2013 12:35PM
First year golf coach Jonathan Haas has taken the unconventional route toward trying to make his talented Crown Point team tournament tough.
Haas has eschewed several of the local tournaments — at least with his varsity players — for some non-traditional tournaments, like the Ulen Invitational, a tournament in Lebanon, and the Lafayette Harrison Invitational, which was the same day as the Rensselaer Invitational. Haas sent a junior varsity team to the Kankakee Valley Invitational on the day of the Ulen.
It’s an interesting strategy for the Bulldogs, who like every team in Northwest Indiana, are faced with a new challenge this year.
Regionals, which had been held at Beechwood, have been switched to Lafayette. The teams will play at the Battle Ground Golf Club, a 6,782-yard par-72.
Advancing to the state finals is more difficult — seven sectionals feed into Battle Ground instead of four — and only the top three teams, like in past years, get to the state finals. The difference for the actual state finals is that all 12 teams get to play both days of the tournament.
Haas said the move is meant to get his team used to playing good competition outside of Northwest Indiana. He noted that they play Valparaiso and Lake Central and the other good teams around here regularly, including a second-place finish on Saturday in the Lake Central Invitational at Palmira in which the Bulldogs finished behind the Vikings but ahead of the host Indians.
“We wanted to get out of the region with regionals moving down south,” he said. “We want to see how we stack up against the best.”
So far, so good — at least on some days. They only lost by a stroke to Avon, the No. 1 team in state, at Ulen and they beat Munster and Zionsville last week in their own Invitational at Youche Country Club.
Last Friday, at the Uebele in LaPorte at Beechwood, the Bulldogs were as solid as any team around except Valparaiso. They shot 316, which was six shots behind the Vikings and good enough for third place.
Mike Lee, just a sophomore, led them with a 75 on a day that was barely good enough for football, let alone golf. Lee is just one of several players — Pat Mudd, Luke Lambert and even Matt Mudd, who plays either No. 4 or 5, is capable of going low. Matt shot a 73 at Youche on Saturday. Lee and Pat Mudd alternate playing No. 1. Last year, Lee played No. 5 consistently.
Haas said that Lee’s short game has been a key for him this year.
“On a day when he’s not hitting fairways or greens, he makes up for it with his short game,” Haas said.
Haas was happy with the Uebele performance though he believes his team can get better and he’s hoping they will because of all of the traveling they’ve done this year.
“We’re six or seven strokes better than that,” he said.