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Local golf teams finish in Top 4 of HHC Tournament

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BRAY: Clinton Central’s Payton Bray hits his second shot on No. 1 at Angel Hill. Bray and the Bulldogs took fourth place in the Hoosier Heartland Conference Tournament.
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OLIVER: Rossville’ Bryce Oliver tees off on No. 10 at Angel Hill Golf Course on Saturday in the Hoosier Heartland Conference Tournament. Oliver shot an 84 to help the Hornets take second place behind the Eastern Comets.
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FINGERLE: Braiden Fingerle putts on No. 9 at Angel Hill. Fingerleshot an 86 to help the Clinton Prairie Gophers take third place in the conference tournament and also had the best pants.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Rossville Hornets, Clinton Prairie Gophers and Clinton Central Bulldogs finished second, third and fourth, respectively, behind the champion Eastern Comets on Saturday in the Hoosier Heartland Conference Golf Tournament at Angel Hill Golf Course in Rossville.

Eastern won the 18-hole tournament with a four-golfer combined score of 340 strokes, which was 29 fewer strokes than second-place Rossville at 369. The Gophers put together a score of 386 while the Bulldogs came in at 403 strokes.

The top eight individual scores earned All-HHC honors.

Taylor’s Jaden Kosberg finished the front nine at Angel Hill in 34 strokes and shot a 41 on the back nine to earn medalist honors with a 75. He is joined on the All-HHC Team by Eastern’s Cody Schrader (40-41) and Mason France (40-43), Rossville’s Bryce Oliver (42-42), Tri-Central’s Xavier Tunmer (41-43), Eastern’s Isaac Maurer (41-43), and Clinton Prairie’s Braiden Fingerle (43-43) and Grant McGraw (43-44).

Helping the Oliver shoot their way to a second-place finish were Jacob Dahmen (45-44), Evan Hopkins (52-48), Nathan Schaeffer (46-50) and Kolton Harshbarger (56-60).

“I thought the boys played well Saturday,” Rossville head coach Lonny Lawson said. “We had a season-best 369, so I’m seeing improvement as a team every time we play. The negative about Saturday is that even, though we had a team-best, we also had a combined 23 three-putts just among our four scorers, so we still have a lot of room for improvement there.

“Bryce continued his nice play of late and is really learning how to work his way around the course and fight through adversity, earning his second straight All-Conference award,” Lawson added. “Jacob played as well as he has recently and just struggled on the greens. So, as he continues to clean that up, I expect great things for him. Nathan has been pretty consistent and continues to get better each round, and Evan impresses me with his composure as a freshman and willingness to learn and improve. Kolton had a rough day yet has a tremendous amount of potential as a freshman, so I expect him to bounce back even stronger. Overall, I’m happy with our play and looking forward to continued improvement as we approach sectionals.”

Joining Fingerle and McGraw in the Gophers’ third-place finish were Evan Huelskamp (52-51), Reid Justus (54-56) and Cody Criswell (56-54).

“I was very happy with our team’s scores,” Clinton Prairie head coach Jim Cullom said. “It was exciting to have Braiden Fingerle and Grant McGraw make the All-Conference Team. The whole team has been working hard to get better, and it showed with four of the player’s having personal-bests. In addition to both Braiden and Grant having personal-bests, Cody Criswell and Evan Huelskamp also had their lowest 18-hole scores Saturday.”

Leading Clinton Central to a fourth-place finish out of the eight schools represented at the HHC Tournament were Ross Cripe (46-49), Oliver Deck (48-49), Payton Moore (49-50), Payton Bray (56-56) and Corey Niemann (58-65).

“We had a few unexpected player changes that ultimately affected our outcome,” Clinton Central head coach Kimberly Deck said. “We have been working to improve our approach shots and putting. The team continues to make improvements week after week, and that is a plus. We seem to fluctuate each week with who is performing the best. We are looking forward to the County Match next week at Deer Track.”

The Hornets, Gophers and Bulldogs will among each other again as well as with the Frankfort Hot Dogs when the four schools tee off the Clinton County Tournament starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Deer Track Golf Club.