Times Sports Editor
The 2008 Owen Valley Golf Sectional will be on the same course as last season for area golfers. Rolling Meadows Golf Course in Spencer will play host to this year's opening round quest for the IHSAA State Finals.
A repeat of last year's results would undoubtedly be just fine for both Northview and Clay City's golfers too.
The Knights are the defending champions, winning the school's first sectional championship after freshman Daniel Eaglin holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to close the door on a two-shot victory over Terre Haute North. The Clay City Eels placed third and also moved on to the regional to cap an exciting day for Clay County prep golfers.
The Knights return several members of that championship squad last year and the Eels return their leader, Josh Strain, from the regional squad.
Terre Haute South would have to come in as the prohibitive favorite, ranked 20th in the state and unbeaten in dual matches this year. However, the sectional is a different kind of animal as 18-hole tournament play opens the field a bit.
Linton, coming off a Southwestern Indiana Conference championship recently, should be near the top as well as they return Caleb Dunkerly, who placed fourth in the sectional last year with a round of 75 for the Miners.
The Knights return three members of last year's sectional team led by medalist Kade Baker, who shot a 73 to best the Eels' Strain by one stroke.
Jordan Gaskill had a great round last year as well, carding a 74 for the Knights and Eaglin returns with one more year of experience after shooting an 83 last year.
Drew Snyder and Matt Williams have played well for Northview this season and were reach All-WIC members along with Baker. Each golfer shot a 79 at the Sullivan Elks Course as Northview finished nine strokes back of Edgewood.
At the Phil Harris Course, the SWIAC field was topped by Linton's George Fritch with a 76 and the Miners took the top four spots.
Clay City's Strain led the Eels in that match with an 80 with Dale Stoops, Braxton Griffith, Andrew Schaffer and Derrick Buis competing. The Eels lineup was different for the Tri-River Conference meet, also topped by Linton.
Strain, Griffith, Schaffer and Stoops all competed, but were joined by Zach Boggs and Dallas Graham.
Boggs shot an 80 to place third on the Eels' team last year in the sectional. Boggs got a surprise start last year when No. 1 golfer Fred Modesitt was unable to play due to injury.
The top-three teams are taken from the sectional to advance to the Heritage Hills Regional along with the low three individuals not on a qualifying team.
The Knights are gunning for a repeat of last year's round at Rolling Meadows and as far as head-to-head match-ups with the sectional opponents, Northview has had some mixed results.
Facing the Braves on South's home course, Northview didn't play well and fell 147 to 167. That defeat came on the heels of a narrow loss at Forest Park to the Braves in the Northview Invitational by three strokes. The Eels also competed in that tourney and got a 78 from Strain and an 84 from Boggs.
Northview has split in home-and-away matches against Terre Haute North , winning by 15 strokes at home and falling in a tight battle at Hulman Links.
However, Monday, the course will be neutral for everyone except the host Patriots who can't be ignored. Owen Valley was led by Tyler Collier's 39 in the head-to-head match-up at Forest Park.
Monday's sectional begins at 10 a.m. at Rolling Meadows Golf Course.