The Times photo by John O. Marlowe 
(L-R) Nina Hecht (Carmel), Caitie Gehlhausen (Hamilton Heights), Cailyn Henderson (Westfield), and Jocelyn Bruch (Westfield) were Hamilton County's All-State golfers!
The Times photo by John O. Marlowe
(L-R) Nina Hecht (Carmel), Caitie Gehlhausen (Hamilton Heights), Cailyn Henderson (Westfield), and Jocelyn Bruch (Westfield) were Hamilton County's All-State golfers!

Carmel — Westfield watched Evansville North run out to a big final round lead, and then nearly drove the Huskies off the course, in a comeback flourish that ultimately fell two strokes short. Evansville North captured the 44th Annual IHSAA Girls Golf Tournament at Prairie View Golf Club, Saturday, leaving the Shamrocks alone in second place for the second consecutive year.

At one point, the Shamrocks trailed the two-time defending champion Huskies by ten strokes, but trimmed the lead to one by carding one birdie on No. 11, and two birdies each on Nos. 12 & 13. Evansville reclaimed the lead, and the title, by notching five pars on No. 18 while Westfield finished three over.

“I talked with each kid at the turn, and told them our situation,” Westfield head coach Trevor Neu said. “I told them it is time to be aggressive, and they really answered the call. I think for just a moment out there, we might have taken the lead.”

Evansville North was led by junior Hadley Walts who shot a one under par (-1) 71, which included four birdies in the second round for the Purdue golf commit. Two other Huskies, Katelyn Le (75) and Katelyn Skinner (76) shot final rounds near par.

Columbus North’s Holly Anderson (146) was the tournament medalist, and had her team in the hunt for the title until faltering at the end. The Bulldogs finished third, five strokes behind the leaders.

Westfield kept pressuring the champs behind the effort of freshman Jocelyn Bruch. Her four birdies led to a two over par (+2) 74 in the final round. Margaret Wentz and Cailyn Henderson each shot a final round 75 (+3) for the Shamrocks.

For Henderson, the weekend was a culmination of “what-could-have-beens”. Westfield’s No. 1 and nationally ranked golfer was well on her way to a sub-par first round when darkness fell suspending play, Friday. Some confusion by the officials on whether the players had to complete the hole, or stop in place, may have contributed to Henderson’s first bogey of the weekend, leading coach Neu to question the inconsistencies in officiating.

When Henderson resumed play Saturday, she completed her round with two triple bogeys, leaving the ace with a first round 77.

It was a setback that got the Shamrocks off to a rocky start, but Neu wasn’t looking for excuses.

“As a team we didn’t really come out sluggish,” Neu corrected. “Through six holes, we were one over par. We didn’t play the whole nine very well, and that hurt us. Where we thought we would make the turn, maybe four back, we end up making the turn at ten back. That’s what really hurt us.”

Henderson’s two-day total 152 left her one stroke behind in the head-to-head battle with Walts, and also kept her from joining the top ten golfers on the podium.

However, Nina Hecht from Carmel made it. Her even par (E) 72 in the final round gave her a two-day total of 151, good for a seventh place tie, and good for praise from Carmel head coach Kelly Kluesner, who was happy for her entire team.

“The girls definitely played much better today, overall,” said the Greyhounds skipper. “They really didn’t have anything to lose, and they knew they had a chance to crack the top five teams if they played their game. So they took it upon themselves to focus, and the results were obvious in Nina and Rani’s (78) scores.”

The balanced team effort was good enough to grant Carmel fifth behind fourth place Zionsville. Fishers captured seventh place, and their improvement from day one to day two pleased their coach.

“They really were grinding it out out there,” beamed Tigers’ Danny Smith. “We wanted them to come out, and improve on yesterday’s scores, and they did just that. We are really proud of them.”

Hamilton County’s fourth State finalist, Steve Guenin’s Hamilton Southeastern squad, finished twelfth, led by Julie Eaton’s 78 on Saturday.

Hamilton Heights’ Caitie Gehlhausen, competing as an individual, shot 154 for the tournament, which qualified her for All-State, joining Nina Hecht, Henderson, and Bruch.

Few individuals posted their personal best rounds in the stress-filled tournament, but the performances given the rain delays, cold weather, and pressure-packed battle at the top had coaches — like all golfers — thinking about missed opportunities. For Westfield and Neu, there were bright spots, too.

“Our senior, Morgan Baechle, had her best State tournament ever,” mused coach Neu. “All of our individuals put the pressure on, and we just didn’t . . . didn’t have enough.

“But that’s golf,” smiled the coach.


Individuals by School

Westfield

Morgan Baechle (12)      82-84

Adrienne Montalone (11)             83-78

Jocelyn Bruch (9)              79-74

Margaret Wentz (11)      80-75

Cailyn Henderson (11)    77-75

Carmel

Erin Evans (11)   89-88

Nina Hecht (10) 79-72

Libby McGuire (10)          88-92

Rani Hecht (12) 79-78

Angie Kavanaugh (12)     85-86

Fishers

Anna DelPrince (11)        84-88

Kennedy Brooker (11)    81-77

Morgan Lewis (11)           79-79

Grace Brooks (11)            93-91

Kate Alt (12)                       93-88

Hamilton Southeastern

Haleigh Gray (11)             84-86

Julie Eaton (10) 90-78

Nicole Dillow (11)             92-91

Chelsea Morrow (10)      90-86

Dagney Gladwell (11)      95-97

Individuals by Score           School/Score

Holly Anderson (12)            Columbus North-146 +2

Elyse Stasil (10)                     Chesterton-148 +4

Alexis Miestowski (11)       Lake Central-149 +5

Reece Malapit (12)              Yorktown-149 +5

Morgan Dabagia (9)            Homestead-150 +6

Danbi Kim (11)                       Columbus North-150 +6

Lauren Guiao (12)                Evansville Memorial-151 +7

Hadley Walts (11)                 Evansville North-151 +7

Nina Hecht (10)                     Carmel-151 +7

Anabelle Pancake (9)          Zionsville-151 +7

Cailyn Henderson (11)        Westfield-152 +7

Minka Gill (12)                       Western-152 +8

Brooke Moser (12)               Leo-152 +8

Katelyn Le (12)                      Evansville North-154 +10 Mental Attitude Winner