Eagles impress at Frandsen Open

Apr. 27—LEBANON — Lebanon's annual Kent Frandsen Ulen Golf Inivational has become one of the top regular season tournaments in the state over the past several years.

The 19-team field featured six teams ranked in the top-19 of the state this year, and offers a good mid-season test to all teams.

To make things even more interesting this year, Mother Nature provided challenging conditions with rain early and high winds late on an already challenging course.

The third-ranked Zionsville Eagles proved to be up to the challenge on Saturday, shooting a 293 to best second-ranked Westfield by two shots and pick up their second tournament win in as many weeks.

"Out of any of our performances this year, this was probably our strongest," Zionsville head coach Adam Wood said. "On the total of everything, this was the most difficult course and conditions we have had so far and I really think our guys managed that very, very well. To date, this is probably the best I have seen them hit their irons and general approach play. Every time I stepped up to watch one of our guys, they hit a great shot into the green. I have to give them tremendous credit and it's a testament to their work ethic and the kind of players they are."

One of the most impressive things about the round was how the players handled the changing elements.

It was rainy and wet early in the round, but as the rain went away, the wind picked up.

Even as the wind generally died down later, there were occasional large gusts of wind. But the Eagles handled everything thrown at them, being the only team in the talented field to have everyone shoot below 80.

"We have a pretty well-rounded approach, and credit to the guys today for handling it as well as they did," Wood said. "Any time you show up to the course and you realize there are a lot of changing elements — wind is changing, rain, no rain — you have to be able to assess every shot on its own merit and be very disciplined with that because it's not easy. They did a good job of that today and I am proud of them."

Brycen Tisch led the Eagles with a 70, which was good for tied for second overall.

Gavin Poole and Max Steiner both shot 74s, with Andrew Wall shooting a 75. Bryce Conlee shot a 78.

The Eagles will look to continue their strong play with a busy week, playing at the Country Club of Indianapolis on Monday, Prairie View on Wednesday and in the State Preview on Saturday.

"This is a great confidence builder for sure, and I told the guys — and they knew it already — that this was going to be a great test with both venue and competition," Wood said. "There were some very talented teams here and this was a great gauge for where we are at in our season and how we are stacking up. I think they can take a lot of pride in their performance today and we will see how we can build on that moving forward."

Lebanon 15th, WeBo 17th

The Lebanon and Western Boone boys golf teams also gained valuable experience against an elite field on Saturday.

The Lebanon boys placed 15th with a 365 and Western Boone was 17th with a 397.

"This was about experience for our guys," Western Boone head coach Kurt Baird said. "To have an opportunity to play in event like this, if we are going to build a program we have to put ourselves out there for some things. It started a little rough, then started to play OK and it was a tough finish."

Eli Myers and Harper Brown led the Tigers with 88s.

Brayden Newsom had a 92, Ben White had a 97 and Dyelan Sheets had a 106.

For Western Boone, Evan Terwiske led the team with a 95. Jaice Butler had a 98.

Luke LaGrange and Ben Fortner had 102s and Maddex Gadbury had a 110.

"I have been happy with what we have done so far," Baird said, noting all the Stars are first-time varsity players. "Our first three or four matches, we had someone make a breakthrough in some area. The last couple haven't been as noticeable, and we knew we would get to a point like this, so now we have to figure out how to continue to improve for the rest of the year."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.