Eagles win title at Highland

Apr. 20—INDIANAPOLIS — It wasn't an ideal day for a golf tournament on Saturday afternoon.

While the sun was shining, the cold temperatures and large wind gusts added to the challenges of a tough golf course at Highland Golf and Country Club.

But despite the challenging conditions, the fourth-ranked Zionsville golf team excelled, coming away with the title with a score of 307.

"I think they did a very nice job today," Zionsville head coach Adam Wood said. "The conditions weren't great, and when there's that much wind and it's cold, it makes it difficult to score and par becomes valuable. The guys did a nice job with that."

The weather has been far from ideal early in the season in Indiana.

And while it would be nice to have perfect conditions, it is also important to be able to find ways to be successful in all different conditions.

"We have to be able to handle it on these kinds of days — when it is difficult and the wind is blowing," Wood said. "We are going to get great, 70 degree days with the sun out and light wind, but we are also going to have days like today that are going to be a grind. We have to embrace that and that's what it means to be a competitor and I think we did a pretty good job of that today."

The Eagles had two of the top three individual finishers on the day.

Max Steiner was second overall with a 3-over 73.

"He was superb," Wood said. "He said he got off to a little rough start, but the way he played the last 14 holes was really awesome. I am really proud of him, I think a lot of his hard work is starting to pay off and will pay off for him the rest of the year. The style of play we want to play this is was kind of wrapped up in his performance those last 14 holes, and that was awesome to see."

Brycen Tisch was third overall with a 75.

Wood said Tisch, a freshman, is just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do.

"The sky's the limit for Brycen and I have told him that," Wood said. "It wouldn't surprise me to see a lot of success for him very soon and to see that continue for a long time. He is a very talented player and I am looking forward to watching him play."

The Eagles got a 79 from Andrew Wall, an 80 from Gavin Poole and an 85 from Bryce Conlee to round out their line-up.

Through the opening three tournaments of the year, each of the Eagles five has been below 75 and have the ability on any given day to lead the team.

"It's valuable and the guys get along well," Wood said. "From the raw, team scoring component, it's nice to have guys in the line-up who feel dangerous. They can all go out there and do something really good. We have great depth, we have a lot of talent and we will have to work really hard to correct some mistakes that we have made, but we have also done a lot of great things so far."

The Eagles have gotten off to a solid start this season.

They finished second in the season-opening tournament at Coyote Crossing, shooting a 293.

They won the following week at Pfau in Bloomington with a 305 and made it two in a row on Saturday.

While there is still a long way to go in the year, Wood is happy with the start.

"It's been very productive and we have played some solid golf," Wood said. "We have played some challenging venues and challenging conditions, especially the last two weeks. The guys can be proud of the way they have played, but more than anything I would like to see them really get absorbed in their process of development. After every tournament, can we evaluate it, can we diagnose what is happening, then train it and do it again. We are starting to do that now, and we will see how it turns out the rest of the spring."

Wood, a former Eagle standout, is in his first year as the head coach of the Eagles after taking over from longtime coach Steve Simmons.

Wood was an assistant with Simmons last year, and says that has helped make it a smooth transition as he takes over.

"Coach Simmons did a great job, he was my coach and some of my fondest memories in golf were with coach Simmons," Wood said. "It was nice that he allowed me to be a part of the program last year and the guys got to know me a little bit, which I think helps. I got to see how they play, how their games stack up with each other and where their strengths and weaknesses are. It was additional experience for me, and I am hoping it made them a little more comfortable working with me too. I think it's been productive so far and we are enjoying it."

The Eagles head to Broadmoor on Thursday, then to the Lebanon Invite on Saturday.

Wood said they are continuing with their same approach and hoping that come June and the start tournament, it all pays off.

"We try to take a very individual approach," Wood said. "When we structure our practices, it's not everyone doing the same thing. If Andrew Wall has one strength and one weakness, and Gavin Poole has a different strength and weakness, I would like them to spend the time developing their own skills they need. I want each player to own their own performances and progress and development. I want them to be able to evaluate, learn to analyze and diagnose — and I can help with that certainly — then we can train hard. That way, when we show up on game day, we can have fun and play well."

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