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Hatter, Lafayette Jeff win regional golf crown
September 23, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
After winning the City/County and sectional golf tournaments by wide margins last week, the Lafayette Jeff girls golf team knew it would need clutch performances to win its first regional titleunder coach John Hatter.
The Bronchos did just that, using an 80 from Samantha Hatter to force a tie with Valparaiso for first place and then earning the title on the score of No. 5 golfer Lindsey Burkhardt.
The scoreboard-watching finish was enhanced by the girls playing in the coldest temperatures of the season, with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour. The wind constantly knocked down long drives and nudged putted balls past holes most of the day.
But once play ended, Jeff and Valparaiso, behind all-state golfer Harley Dubsky, were knotted at 352, a mere four strokes ahead of Chesterton. But Burkhardt’s score of 97 bettered the 106 score of Valparaiso’s Mary Rooker.
Jeff, Valparaiso and Chesterton all advance to the state finals, which will be played at The Legends Golf Course in Franklin on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s unbelievable and I can’t stop smiling,” Burkhardt said after learning her score was the tiebreaker with Valparaiso. “I wanted to get to state my senior year and didn’t want to be the first group not to go. I couldn’t have done it without the other four girls shooting low. I’m proud of them.”
Lafayette Jeff, which had finished second or third in regional competition every year since 2008, were the only team to place golfers in the top five with Hatter and Lindsey Burklow, who shot an 83.
“We are ecstatic,” John Hatter said. “There was no more than a stroke difference after the back nine. I told Lindsey at the turn that she’s a senior and I don’t want it to end this way and she delivered. We are tickled to death and happy to be part of the party.”
The younger Hatter’s score was second-best of the tournament, trailing only the 73 shot by Dubsky. Hatter was in good company, tying defending state champion Kelly Grassel of Chesterton and all-stater Allison Lindley of Western.
“It’s a good feeling for the team,” Samantha Hatter said. “I just came out and tried my best and that’s all you can hope for. You just have to overcome adversity, like the wind. If you can do that, you can do anything. Winning regional is a big confidence booster for us going into state.”
After the first nine holes, six teams were within seven shots of each other. Valparaiso and Jeff were tied at 176, followed by Chesterton at 177, Lake Central at 181, Western at 182 and Northwestern at 183.
“We could have shot first or we could have shot fourth,” Samantha Hatter said.
Central Catholic’s Morgan Brown earned a trip to the state tournament as an individual, grabbing one of the last two spots in a playoff at the first hole. Brown did it impressively, knocking down a 20-foot shot just off the left side of the green for a birdie.
The freshman follows in the footsteps of Lauren Hruskovich, who qualified for the state tournament last year as a senior.
“I was just trying to get it close enough for a par but a birdie worked,” Brown said. “It was a lot of fun going down there as a team with Lauren, so I’m really excited. I want to do better at state.”