PLYMOUTH — For Garrett’s Levi Follett, third time was not the charm.
The junior Railroader made his third appearance at the regional stage of the IHSAA Boys Golf State Tournament during last Thursday’s Plymouth Regional at Swan Lake Golf Club.
Follett was one of two KPC area individuals to play in the regional.
The junior Railroader struggled to start of his round, finishing with a 42 on the front nine. Follett finally got going in the middle of his round with consecutive pars but was still pressing at the end, which forced another big number near the end, wrapping up his round at 82.
“It started pretty rough. I got settled in by the fifth or sixth hole,” Follett said. “But it wasn’t early enough. I think by the time I got to the back nine I started playing well enough to probably make it out, but with the way I started out, it was going to be tough.”
“I think his game is there. We’ve got to learn to take what he does so well in practice and range to the course,” Garrett head coach Dave Demske said. “(He) kind of got off to a little bit of a rough start. A couple of three-putts then tried to press and made a big number. From there on, he actually played pretty solid.”
In the first six holes, Follett had a birdie, four bogeys and a triple bogey, which set him back quite a ways before righting the ship and parring the last three holes on the front.
“Part of it was nerves, the other part was one last tweak in my swing I didn’t have it quite figured out. It caused me to pull it and slice it, especially on one of the par fives early in the round,” Follett said.
Follett was seven strokes off those who advanced to the state finals as individuals.
Homestead’s Adam DeLong and DeKalb’s Bailey Clark both scored 72, Kash Bellar of Peru with 73, Kokomo’s Brandon Hansen at 74 and Alex Hedrick of Columbia City with 75. Bishop Dwenger won the team title with a score of 305, led by individual medalist Johnny Filler, who shot a 72.
Follett and Demske know Follett has the talent to advance on, but it’s just all about putting it together on day of the regional.
“I remember last year making the joke that I had two bad nine-hole rounds put together my freshman year, and then last year I had one bad nine with a good nine,” Follett said. “I thought this year I’d put them both together, but I kind of did the same thing as I did last year. Hopefully next year I’ll have everything figured out and I’ll be ready for the round when I get there.”
“He’s just got to learn the tempo. He gets a little fast and gets a little quick, which good golfers do. It’s learning how to slow down and be a little more patient,” Demske said. “If he makes a bogey, he’s trying to right the ship and make a birdie on the next hole and just presses a little too hard. I think that’s what kind of happened (Thursday).”
Demske said Follett has a big summer schedule lined up with several tournaments he will play in, which should help him down the line.
“The only thing that I think that can only help with (learning to slow down) is experience,” Demske said. “And he probably, for some of the kids his age, lacks the tournament experience that a lot of kids have.”