GOSHEN — Golf tournaments don’t get much tighter than Friday’s Fairfield Sectional at Black Squirrel Golf Club.
Four strokes separated the top three teams, and the fourth-place team - the team left outside looking in and failing to advance to next week’s regional tournament — was just two strokes behind the top three.
Elkhart Memorial won the sectional on a blustery, chilly, drizzly late-spring day with a 326. Northridge was second with a 327, followed by Lakeland with a 330.
Elkhart Central was fourth (332), followed by Concord in fifth (332); NorthWood sixth (343); Fairfield seventh (346); Goshen eighth (352); Westview ninth (374); Elkhart Christian 10th (380); Prairie Heights 11th (382); Jimtown 12th (427) and Bethany Christian 13th (465).
Memorial, Northridge and Lakeland, plus the top three individuals not on an advancing team will move on to the Homestead Regional tournament, set for next Thursday and Friday at Orchard Ridge in Fort Wayne.
Elkhart Central’s Jeffrey Bradford (75); Fairfield’s Zach Hochstedler (77) and Elkhart Christian’s Alec Dutkowski (78) advanced as individuals. Dutkowski defeated Concord’s Timothy Johnson in a one-hole playoff to claim the final advancing spot.
From the regional, the top three teams, plus the top three individuals not on an advancing team will move on to the state tournament, set for June 12-13 at the Legends of Indiana in Franklin.
On Friday, teams battled miserable conditions all day long, as a nagging, drizzling rain hung around and refused to lift.
Fairfield coach Rand Schrock said the conditions were tough, but they didn’t excuse his team’s play.
“The conditions were the same for everyone out there,” Schrock said. “You have to show up.”
Still, the day wasn’t a total washout for the Falcons, who will send their No. 1, Hochstedler, to the regional as an individual.
The final few holes were a nail-biter for Lakeland coach Jon Roush and his team, especially after struggling on the difficult par-3 17th hole at Black Squirrel.