- Published on 29 May 2012
- Written by B.J. Fictum
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NORTH PLATTE — Friend junior Jaxon Clouse helped the Bulldogs achieve at the highest level on the golf course as he finished in a tied for 13th place overall at the Class D State Golf Championships held at River’s Edge Course in North Platte.
The 13th-place finish also helped lead the Dawgs to a third-place finish in the team standings behind Heartland Lutheran and Bancroft-Rosalie, which Friend Coach Dave Clouse considered an outstanding achievement.
Runner-up Bancroft-Rosalie had a team score of 699 compared to Friend’s 704. Heartland Lutheran carded a 684 for the win.
Exeter-Milligan also had a golfer in the state mix for the first time in three years — foreign exchange student Felix Ochsenfeld.
Ochsenfeld ended up 31st while Friend’s Reed Waller was 30th. Ochsenfeld and Michael Hynes of Ewing both finished with a 178, but Ochsenfeld had the higher placing thanks to criteria.
The E-M golfer shot an 88 on Day 1 and a 90 on the second day for a 178 total; Hynes’ scores were just the opposite — a 90 and an 88.
E-M Coach Dean Filipi explained that ties are broken based upon scores on handicap holes.
“On the course, every hole has a handicap score,” he explained. “If there is a tie, officials look at the toughest one first to determine which golfer had the lower score. If the golfers are not tied on the hole, whomever shot lower gets the higher placing. If they are tied, it goes onto the second-toughest hole, third, etc.”
“Felix kept his head and had some good holes on a flat course,” he remarked. “I knew he could perform well and he took a big step.”
The district meet at Oakland the previous week wasn’t an easy go either.
“We were hoping for at least 2 or more guys to make it out of districts, but we still tied for fourth as a team in a district field with some tough kids and tough teams,” Filipi said. “We weren’t too far from taking the entire team (the top three district teams auto-qualify for state). We thought we had a shot at it and that he and Brady (Bristol) had a shot at qualifying individually, but Brady was just two strokes off a medal.”
The state team race was a tight one, according to Coach Clouse.
“Friend was in second place after the first round six shots behind the leader and one shot ahead of third place,” he said. “We played well the first day and had ourselves right in the thick of it.”
Day 2 is when the play began to erode.
Clouse said the Dawgs looked good in warm-ups and were still in second place after the first nine holes while increasing their lead to six shots over Bancroft-Rosalie, but the final nine were disastrous with scores of 43, 48, 49, 49 and 49.
“They all tried so hard, they all gave great effort, they wanted to play well and take home a trophy. We had a chance to win the tournament with nine holes to go and if we could have kept pace with our front nine scores, we would have been right there,” Clouse said. “They never gave up and played the best they could play, but things just did not work out for us on the back nine.”
Jaxon Clouse netted an 81 on the first 18 holes then shot an 83 on the second day for his 164.
“Jaxon finished 16th as a freshman and 13th last year. We were expecting him to place in the top 5, but his game was just not sharp,” the coach said. “He tried very hard, had a good attitude and wanted to play well for the team, but he just could not get any momentum in his rounds. He didn’t hit the ball poorly or play badly, but he just could not seem to get anything going.”
Waller was the next Bulldog in line, finishing 30th with a 176 total. Waller carded an 86 on Day 1 and shot a 90 the second day.
Waller and Tanner Walker completed their second year at state as Walker shot a two-day total of 180, good for 35th. 2012 was the third year Clouse and Brady Vossler qualified.
Vossler’s 185 total (89-96) put him in 46th place after Wednesday’s round.
The 346 team score Friend shot on Tuesday was the lowest of the season, a fact that also pleased Coach Clouse.
“Our team grew and matured as the season progressed,” he said. “They played a great second nine at districts or we would not have made it to state then they played three really good nines at state. We shot our lowest team score of the year on the first day of state.
“I could not have asked for a better effort out of them. They are all exhausted.”
Another fact also drew Clouse’s attention.
“We received many compliments from the fans on our team’s appearance. They also showed the best etiquette and sportsmanship of any team in the tournament.”