By Jake Thompson
BROWNSBURG — Under wet and windy conditions Thursday night at West Chase Golf Club, the Brownsburg Bulldogs did their best to defend the home course against the visiting Hamilton Southeastern Royals.
After all of the rain gear was dried out and scores tallied, Brownsburg came up just short. The No. 16-ranked Royals edged the Bulldogs in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference matchup, 156-151.
“A steady rain, dropping temperatures, and a saturated course made it a character building day even with the lift-clean-and-place in effect,” Brownsburg coach Steve Brown said. “The kids hung in there and did a nice job of playing well.”
“We were measuring ourselves against one of the top teams in the state in HSE. Though a five stroke loss is bittersweet, I felt like we just did not close well on some holes.”
Brownsburg’s squad of Luke Kelly (37), Derek Hettmansperger (38), Landon Mundell (39) and Kasey Cross (42) made up the Bulldogs’ scoring.
Also playing varsity for Brownsburg were Alec Brown (43), Kyle Dafoe (45) and Mike Wamsley (50).
Kelly’s play certainly caught the eye of his coach.
“Luke played well last weekend with a 77 and to shoot a 37 in these conditions is great,” Brown said. “He just hangs in there and moves on after a poor shot and has a good head for the game.”
After waiting three years to take over the No. 1 spot, Hettmansperger likes the direction the team is heading this season. The senior birdied the final hole, besting his playing partner, HSE’s No. 1 golfer Johnny Watts, by two strokes.
“As a team, we have a really good shot to go far this year, we’re deep. We have some really good freshman and some good senior talent,” Hettmansperger said.
The varsity lineup is set with all seniors except for Kelly and Wamsley, who are both freshmen. The pair has already made a big impact for the Bulldogs and some players have taken notice.
“I love it,” Hettmansperger said of the freshmen. “Basically, it’s a team sport and I love seeing them come out and shoot low scores. I hope they can keep it going.”
Brown has also been impressed with how the pair has adjusted thus far in the year.
“The freshmen we have playing now do not seem bothered by the pressure of varsity golf, which is nice to see,” he said. “I attribute that to a lot of their junior golf they’ve played over the last several years all over the U.S.”
With five of the HCC’s teams ranked in the top 20, conference competition will be as stiff as the wind Brownsburg played in Thursday. Brown and Hettmansperger both hope the Bulldogs continue to improve and the competition Brownsburg will face in conference should help them come sectional time.
“It’s a really tough conference, but I feel confident that we can compete against anyone this year,” Hettmansperger said.