PREP BOYS GOLF: Fairfield's Miller, Carl power Falcons to Goshen Invitational win Saturday

Apr. 13—GOSHEN — In it's first 18-hole match of the season, the Fairfield Falcons scored 337 as a team to give themselves the narrowest of leads to stake claim to the Goshen Invitational title Saturday at Black Squirrel Golf Course.

The red marker was used just once, to mark Fairfield junior Brayden Miller's 2-under par 35. Miller would win the individual title, shooting an even 72 on the day.

"We'll take it, we have a lot to build off of this," Fairfield head coach John Kauffman said. "Feels good to get the wins for the boys. They felt like they left quite a few shots out there, but that's golf, right?"

With clear skies and a breeze sweeping through the course, golfers fought against wind in what was many players first match of the season. For others, it was the first time playing 18 holes.

Putts drew the most ire with even the best from Saturday finding themselves in three-putt situations.

"Putting... half the team, it was a weakness, for the other half it was a strong point," Kauffman said. "It's a big difference because some of them putted very well and some I need to work on a little more as you saw them just putting away."

Fairfield's Miller, who finished in 6th at last year's state finals, set the pace of the top group with long drives. Jasper Carl succeeded from the No. 4 spot, finishing second on the team with an 86. He also finished inside the individual top-10.

"Brayden played well and he's always going to get good score, right," Kauffman said. "My No. 4 was playing really well, felt like he was one-under after eight holes and then let it slip to 86."

The Falcons team score of 337 was just two strokes better than runner-up Northridge, which scored 339 as a team.

The Raiders, returning from last year's state finals, were making their first 18-hole appearance this season. While Coby and Conner Hochstetler carded and 82 and 83 to lead the group, the top of the roster couldn't keep pace for the top prize Saturday. Both Hochstetler boys finished in the top-10 with teammate Isaiah Lehman (86) also making the cut.

Fairfield stressed the importance of every shot matters, pointing to the difference between first and second. Kauffman also expressed afterwards playing in the first 18-hole competition of the season.

"Sometimes 18 holes it's hard to stay focused through that," Kauffman said. "It's much more of a marathon than a sprint. You're always going to have peaks and valleys and to be able to play through that is important."

With a win over Concord and Elkhart earlier this week, the Falcons performance Saturday adds to the expectations for this group. Kauffman is labeling them as such.

"I feel really good, seventh season and I feel like it's going to be the strongest team I've had," Fairfield's head coach said. "The biggest thing is they really worked offseason, more than I've ever seen. They're just into getting better so that's huge."

Groups Saturday included Concord playing with Lakeland and Jimtown, Goshen paired with Fairfield and NorthWood, and Northridge matched up with Westview and Elkhart.

The rest of Saturday's team scores were close as well. Westview and Elkhart tied for third with 352 as Goshen (355) and NorthWood (356) followed. Lakeland (444) and Jimtown (468) rounded out scoring at Black Squirrel.

Westview's Luke Haarer (76) finished as the individual runner-up. Placed as the No. 2 Warrior on the card, Haarer scored an even 36 in his first nine before finished 4-over par. Other top-10 individuals included Goshen's Todd Kauffman (83) and Myles McLaughlin (83) as well as NorthWood's Sam Holden (84) and Elkhart's Steven Webb (78).


10 individuals who were competed on the green Saturday returned following trips to the regional round last season.

Fairfield's Miller joined Northridge's Hochstetler's and Lehman as the only four to be in the state finals action last season. Northridge made the finals as a team with then-senior Brock Reschly leading the way. With Reschly graduated, the work is being put in to see if the Raiders can return with what's left.

Miles Nine and Jasper Carl are both back after playing in last year's regionals. Westview's Wade and Brett Springer join Bryon Yoder and Judson Hershberger in returnees from last year's regionals.


Top four finishers for each team

Fairfield (1st; 337):Brayden Miller (72), Jasper Carl (86), Jake Elliott (89), Miles Nine (90)

Northridge (2nd; 339): Coby Hochstetler (82), Conner Hochstetler (83), Isaiah Lehman (86), Owen Kaehr (88)

Westview (T-3rd; 352): Luke Haarer (76), Wade Springer (88), Brett Springer (91), Judson Hershberger (97)

Elkhart (T-3rd; 352): Steven Webb (78), Ben Miller (89), Cameron Miller (89), Will Cochrane (96)

Goshen (5th; 355): Todd Kauffman (83), Myles McLaughlin (83), Tyler Scott (94), Braxten Sheets (95)

NorthWood (6th; 356): Sam Holden (84), Caleb Vincent (87), Micah Schwartz (91), Collin Deatsman (94)

Lakeland (7th; 444): Deegan Maggerd (107), Ethan Rasbaugh (109), Clayton Trump (112), Brady Ferguson (116)

Jimtown (8th; 468): Tatsu Gravender (102), Leighton Gingerich (120), Nick Hoffman (122), Nate Crosbie (124)

Top 10 individuals: Brayden Miller (72, Fairfield), Luke Haarer (76, Westview), Steven Webb (78, Elkhart), Coby Hochstetler (82, Northridge), Myles McLaughlin (83, Goshen), Todd Kauffman (83, Goshen), Conner Hochstetler (83), Sam Holden (84), Isaiah Lehman (86, Northridge), Jasper Carl (86, Fairfield)

Reach Matt Lucas at 574-533-2151, ext. 240325, or at