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Peru finishes fourth in Rochester Hall of Fame Tournament

FIRST STRIKE: Peru freshman Jake VanBaalen tees off for the first time in his high school career during the Rochester Hall of Fame Tournament held at Rock Hollow GC Saturday afternoon. VanBaalen carded a round of 82, tying for 14th overall, helping the Tigers to a fourth-place finish.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

With a little help from clear skies and warm sunshine, the Rochester Hall of Fame boys’ golf tournament was able to be played Saturday afternoon at Rock Hollow GC.

Eight schools opted not to send golfers to the event, including Maconaquah and IHSGCA preseason No. 1 Center Grove, due to cold temperatures, with the field only including 12 teams from 10 schools, including Peru.

The Tigers finished fourth overall, trailing only No. 3 Carmel, who had a split-squad go 1-2, and No. 19 Franklin.

Peru head coach Clint Mathews said the round was a very good one despite the cold outdoor temperatures.

“If you told me the scores we’d end with at the beginning of the day, I would have been very pleased,” Mathews said. “We’re still pleased with the scores but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to.

“We were looking at three scores in the mid-to-high 70s until the wind picked up and we end in the low 80s. Still, we’re happy with the effort.”

The start of the match was pushed back from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to allow for temperatures to warm which made for a more manageable, if still chilly, round of golf.

Carmel’s Gold team won the tournament with a score of 310, followed by the Blue squad on 315. Franklin finished with a total of 323 as Grizzly Cub Javan Johnson earned medalist honors with a round of 73, followed by Peru on 335.

Mathews was pleased with the team score as it showed a significant step forward from 2017.

“A 335 is a very solid score,” Mathews said. “Today was 23 shots better than we shot in the same tournament last season.

“The course conditions were also longer and harder than last year and once the wind picked up, the course became significantly more difficult. We’re pleased with the rounds the guys had but we’re going to have to figure out how to close rounds out a little stronger if we want to accomplish the things we want to.”

Kash Bellar tied for 10th overall with a round of 80 for Peru, followed by Corbin Robison, who tied for 12th on 81 and Jake VanBaalen, who tied for 14th with a round of 82.

Matt Kiefer rounded out the scoring for the Tigers with a round of 92 while Trevon Crowe finished the day with a round of 111.

Outside of the greens, Mathews said the individual rounds were very good.

“All four scores we counted today were excellent,” Mathews noted. “Matt played very well, Kash and Jake, in their first high school match, had slightly better rounds going than their cards show but it’s a different game when you get to this level with the kind of length and difficulty the course has.

“We do have a little work to do on the green. Our putting was not as strong as it needs to be going forward.”

Peru hosts Eastern Tuesday for a nine-hole match before the squad splits up Saturday morning.

The varsity Tigers will take part in the Twin Lakes Invitational while the JV golfers will partake in the Rochester JV Invitational.

Matthews said Tuesday’s round was as much about seeing progress in each player’s game as it was about picking up a win.

“When you get to nine-hole matches, you start looking a little more at wins-and-losses,” Mathews said. “Even then, it will be less about the scores than about the progress the guys are showing.

“We’re working on getting incrementally better as the season goes along so that the guys can do the things they want to do at the end of the year.”

At Rock Hollow GC

Rochester Hall of Fame Tournament

No. 3 Carmel Golf 310, Carmel Blue 215, No. 19 Franklin 323, Peru 335, Logansport 342, Culver Military Academy Maroon 342, Warsaw 349, Avon 353, Twin Lakes 386, Culver Military Academy White 396, Mooresville 403, Rochester 436

Medalist — Javan Johnson (F) 73

Peru Scores

Bellar 80, Robison 81, VanBaalen 82, Kiefer 92, Crowe 111

Next Match: Peru hosts Eastern Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.