FORT WAYNE – Bishop Dwenger’s Spencer Gillig stepped to the tee box at hole No. 1 at Foster Park, body shaking, and promptly put himself in trouble. The tee shot from the senior drifted right and was near a tree line, making for a tough second shot. It didn’t get much better when his next attempt was in the bunker.
But Gillig survived the first playoff hole after his opponent, Carroll junior Garrett Leeper, couldn’t convert on the opportunity and also bogeyed. Two holes later, Gillig made a par putt for a four on No. 3, while Leeper missed a par putt and had to settle for bogey.
I had nerves, there was no doubt about it, said Gillig, the medalist for Saturday’s Concordia Invitational. My body was shaking, especially over that first tee ball. When I saw my ball to the right of the fairway under a tree, I was like, Oh, man.’ But he gave me a chance, and I am glad I made it work.
Both players shot a 3-under 68 to set up the sudden death playoff that lasted three holes.
I made a lot of birdies, but I just missed a couple of putts I should have made, and Spencer played well in the playoff and all day, Leeper said.
Gillig had 25 putts and, with the lone exception on the first playoff hole, was hitting it well off the tee.
It was a bipolar kind of round, Gillig said. It was a streak of birdies, and then I had to make some unbelievable pars. I played with someone who started the day off by making eagle; he dunked it in, which was awesome. It was hard to live up to those expectations.
Leeper also was able to make birdies, one day after having a practice session with Fort Wayne golf guru Rick Hemsoth.
I worked with Rick, and I was hitting it great, Leeper said. I ended up playing last night, played well, and I just carried it over until today. I am just going to continue building off this going forward, maybe pick up a couple of wins going through and go from there, hopefully play well and go to state.
Eighth-ranked Dwenger won the team title with a 290, Carroll was second with a 301 and Leo third with a 304.
It was the Saints’ first tournament of the season after playing dual matches against Leo, Blackhawk Christian and North Side.
Also for the Saints, Callahan Elzey had a 73, Patrick Allgeier 74, James Wagner 75 and Kyle Miller 79.
It was a very good day, Dwenger coach Dave Scudder said. It’s always nice to win a big tournament early because it gets their confidence up. They start thinking they are going to win. It is always helpful to get off to a good start.
Also for Carroll, Clark Eby had a 74, Nick Ramsey 79, and Cam Boyce and Jake Ramsey each had an 80.
I have a young team out here, and we needed this, Carroll coach Justin Shippy said. To be able to compete and finish second, I am absolutely thrilled. I am on cloud nine.
Leo, which had won its first two tournaments, was led by Nate Morris’ 70.