Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

May 19, 2013

PREP BOYS GOLF: Lakers outduel Falcons for tourney title

KENDALLVILLE — Most of the suspense of Saturday’s NECC boys golf tournament at Noble Hawk Golf Links was focused on Fairfield and Lakeland.

The two teams had been head and shoulders above the rest of the conference most of the season — Fairfield winning the regular season title with a perfect 10-0 mark — and Saturday’s conference tournament was no different.

Lakeland edged Fairfield 308-311 to wrest the NECC tourney title from the defending champ Falcons.

It was the first NECC tournament title since at least 2005, according to Lakeland coach Jon Roush.

“We had a good week, and that continued today,” Roush said. “Consistent play was the key for us.”

And on a day when the Lakers’ top three golfers struggled at times, it was their No. 4 — Zac Paxson — coming up big.

Paxson fired a 3-over-par 73 to earn medalist honors.

It was quite a turnaround from last season for Paxson, who shot a 105 at the NECC tournament in 2012.

Roush could not have been prouder.

“Zac is a great kid and he has been working very hard,” Roush said. “I’m very happy for him ... He developed a case of the shanks at the end of last season and he’s battled through that.”

For Paxson on Saturday, simplifying his game made a difference. He hit mostly irons off the tee, sacrificing distance for accuracy.

The strategy paid off in a big way.

“I could tell that my driver was not going to be working today,” Paxson said. “My irons were.”

Indeed, Paxson started off on the front nine at Noble Hawk par-birdie-birdie-par. He was 2-over on the front nine.

Roush said he challenged his team to not worry about pin placements on Saturday.

“I told them to just aim for the center of the green,” Roush said.

The Lakers will play in the Lafayette Jeff Invitational next weekend — their final tuneup before the sectional tournament Satirday, June 1 at Black Squirrel Golf Club in Goshen.

Among other area schools on Saturday, Westview was seventh (360); and West Noble ninth (380).

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