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IHSAA state boys golf: Who from Southwestern Indiana could contend at Prairie View?



EVANSVILLE — Welcome to the final week of high school athletics in the 2023-24 school year.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association boys golf state championship returns to Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel. The field includes 15 ranked teams in the final coaches poll and dozens of talented individuals capable of winning the title on Wednesday.

Southwestern Indiana is represented by two teams and three other individuals at the two-day event. Nobody from the area has won the championship, team or individual, since 2012 but one could enter the mix with a strong showing. A look at who is competing and what to watch for the next two days.

More: North rises to the occasion to win another IHSAA regional championship

How high could North finish?

The Huskies have an opportunity to reach the podium. Is that their ceiling?

North has eyed this season for some time with a lineup of all upperclassmen. The Huskies finished fifth at the state championship last year and are on track again as a wildcard contender. North also won the sectional (287) and regional (291) with some of its best postseason scores in recent years. The back nine at Country Oaks could be a good measuring stick of the Huskies’ peak.

A podium finish is easier said than done with the top 11 teams advancing to Prairie View. In the Huskies’ favor is past success on this course including a second-place finish in the State Preview on May 4. This is also their best shot with three graduating.

“We like to think our experience does mean something,” said North coach Keith Bagby. “We’re capable but golf is hard. The competition is tough. Preparation alleviates stress and our kids are always prepared.”

Can this week be a springboard for Castle?

The focus for the Knights is, first and foremost, on this week. A solid showing at Prairie View though could be a positive sign for the future.

Four of the five return next season including talented sophomore Brayden Lamborne. Is it a surprise to see Castle here? No. The opening nine in the regional was good enough to earn a spot. It has also been a weird postseason that nearly faulted at the start. That’s why gaining more experience is crucial.

This year reminds me in some ways of the Knights’ 2018/19 teams. Those groups used multiple tournament runs to eventually finish fifth, a program best, at the state finals. Castle could be on a similar path.

Who will be the top individual from SW Indiana?

A lot of talented players will be at Prairie View including some of the best this area has to offer.

Any in the North lineup could produce two good rounds. Luke Johnston, Brody Sorrell and Peyton Butler in particular should be on the watchlist. The former both finished tied for 18th overall last year. Butler is also playing some of his best high school golf including a bogey-free 70 in the regional.

Lamborne has been a rising star for the Knights. Gibson Southern senior Daymian Rij is a former sectional and regional individual champion. The other two individuals, Jasper junior Caleb Schnarr and Gibson Southern junior Peyton Blackard, could be intriguing picks to compete for a top-10 finish.

Blackard, a Notre Dame commit, finished tied for 12th as a freshman and already owns multiple school records. Schnarr had a strong opening round two years ago. He is also on a heater with back-to-back 68s in the postseason. The key for anyone is two good days, not just one, to compete in this field.

“It’s definitely a longer course,” said Blackard. “But if I give myself the looks I had (in the regional) and make two or three more putts, and do that both days, I feel like I’m going to have a good shot come Wednesday.”

What to know about the state championship

  • First round tee times (CDT) for SW Indiana groups are as follows: North 7-7:40 a.m., Castle 7:30-8:10 a.m., Jasper 7:40 a.m. and Gibson Southern 7:10-7:20 a.m.
  • No. 4 Guerin Catholic is the defending state champion.
  • Unofficial live scoring will be through in both rounds.
  • will have coverage of hole 18 starting at 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday.
  • All tickets — $15 per person, good for both days — are digital through your mobile phone and purchased through Eventlink. Children aged 5 and younger are admitted free.
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