GOSHEN — One of the rarest sights in high school golf played out Saturday at the Goshen Invitational.
When all eight teams were done playing, Northridge and NorthWood were tied atop the standings at 338. The tiebreaker to determine who wins in high school golf is the team’s fifth individual score, i.e., the one that doesn’t factor into the team score.
Only one problem: that was tied, too. Northridge’s Landon Cawood and NorthWood’s Brady Chupp each shot a 93, sending the invite to its second tiebreaker: a 10-player playoff. The five players from Northridge and NorthWood would play the first hole together, and whichever team had the lowest combined score from that would win.
Well, Northridge and NorthWood just loved playing so much at Black Squirrel Golf Club Saturday that they decided to tie that as well. Both teams shot an 18 on the first hole, forcing a second playoff hole — the par-5 ninth.
In what came down to nearly the slimmest of margins, Northridge won the second playoff hole, 21-23, securing them the Goshen Invitational championship.
“This was so great,” Northridge coach Todd King said. “Win or lose, with the playoff, just the kids getting the experience of being in that pressure and learning how to deal with that and what it feels like — you have to know what that feels like because they’ll have that pressure throughout the year when sectionals and the (Northern Lakes Conference) tournament happen.”
Even in defeat, Panther coach Phil Ummel said the playoff was a unique experience for him.
“It was cool,” Ummel said. “I told the guys as we were walking down the fairway, ‘Just enjoy this. You’ll probably never do this again in your life, a five-person playoff like this.’ I play golf a lot and I’ve never experienced something like this, so it was cool to do that. It was a chance to put them under some intense pressure there … to do that early in the season is helpful, too.”
Pacing NorthWood Saturday was sophomore Earl Williams, who shot a 74 to finish second individually. Williams birdied both playoff holes to keep his team in it until the very end.
“He played a wonderful round,” said Ummel of Williams. “He struggled a little bit this spring with his confidence because he knows he can shoot scores like that, but it hasn’t been as much as he wants. … I think it’s going to go a long way for him to come out in the playoff and go birdie-birdie on those two holes. That was very impressive stuff.”
Northridge went 3-1 in dual match play during the week, so capping off the week with an invite win was big for King, who’s in his first year leading the Raider program.
“These kids are buying into the process of what myself and Ken Brewster, my assistant, are doing,” King said. “You can already see it paying off, and it’s really neat to see that. I’m just excited about that.”
MEYER EARNS MEDALIST HONORS
The host team, Goshen, finished one shot behind Northridge and NorthWood with a 339. Junior Chase Meyer shot the best round of the day, firing off an even-par 72 to earn medalist honors. He was 2-over on the front nine before going 2-under on the back stretch.
“Chase is a rock-solid player,” Goshen coach Brent Randall said. “He’s always going to be one of our leaders. I wish I had a whole team full of kids that work as hard as he does on his game.”
It was the second 18-hole tournament of the season for the RedHawks, as they played at the Harrison Invitational last weekend. They also won a pair of nine-hole matches over Lakeland and West Noble mid-week, giving Randall his 150th and 151st wins, respectively, of his career. The performances of the last eight days has given the veteran coach a baseline for where his team is at so far this season.
“I don’t think we’re peaking and I don’t think we’re playing our best golf, and that’s fine at this time of the year. … I think our teams are as close as the scores would show,” Randall said. “Northridge, NorthWood, us, even Concord — they didn’t play their best at 370, but another score or two and they’re right there. I think we’re in a good spot at this time of the season, but our better golf is still ahead of us.”
2021 Goshen Invitational — final results
Winner: Northridge, 338 (won on second playoff hole, 21-23, over NorthWood)
T-1. Northridge, 338: Tyler Frazier 80, Ty Miller 80, Brock Reschly 87, Conner Hochstetler 91, Landon Cawood 93
T-1. NorthWood, 338: Earl Williams 74, Jon Cripe 85, Cooper Wiens 86, Kyle Cripe 93, Brady Chupp 93
3. Goshen, 339: Chase Meyer 72 (medalist), Jacob Moyer 81, Cam Schneider 92, Jackson Guipe 94, Zach Subera 96
4. Lakeland, 356: Ben Keil 78, Tommy Curtis 90, Nate Keil 91, Carson Aldrich 97, Luke Franke 105
5. Concord, 370: Will Harris 81, Andrew BonDurant 88, Charlie Deuel 97, Ben Harris 104, Liam McDowell 105
6. Westview, 390: Carl Miller 94, Logan Schwartz 96, Nathan Miller 98, Wade Springer 102, Evan Litwiller 103
7. Fairfield, 392: Miles Nine 86, Carter Kitson 96, Noah Hochstetler 104, Ethan Yoder 106, Lincoln Penrose 111
8. Elkhart, 445: Frankie Yeakey 101, Andrew Swaim 107, Jacob Windy 115, Mason Lymburner 122, Jackson Watson 129
9. Jimtown: Ben Behrens 89, Gary Langford 132 (note: you need at least four players to score in the team standings)