No second guessing. There are no what-ifs.
Evansville North built a 10-stroke lead and held on in the second round to edge defending champion Homestead 625-628 in the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel on Saturday.
There will be no discussion about club selections or strategy. Now it’s about reflection.
“There are several hundred varsity programs in the state,’ Homestead Head Coach Jeff Jehl reasoned. “To finish second is still quite an accomplishment.”
The Spartans scored seven birdies on the final day. Madison Dabagia picked up three (Holes 3, 5 and 12). Simone Senk had two (11 and 18).
Evansville’s opening round of 305 — a 17 over par day, was just enough to hold off the Spartans’ second-round surge.
Homestead shot a 25-over 313 in the second while the Huskies shot 32-over 320 — nearly squandering Friday’s effort.
The Spartans were led by Dabagia and Senk, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, over two days, shooting 150 (75-75) and 151 (76-75).
Meanwhile, Evansville North found themselves going over par 23 on their final 72 holes, including three triple bogies.
The scores, according to Jehl, show how tough the course is. He called it a championship-level venue.
“It was very long and very firm. The numbers from everyone were higher than usual,” he said.
“The scores are higher because it’s the state finals, there’s extra pressure.
“They got off to a great start and we dug a hole Friday that we weren’t able to dig ourselves out of.
“We played fine. It’s so easy to fall into a game of what-ifs. We talked about that. Everyone can do that.”
Jehl has been at the helm of the program for eight years, and he says talk of becoming a state contender would have just been a dream.
‘We haven’t been able to bust into the top three until last year. Evansville North has always been a program we look up to because they set the standard of what success looks like. They’ve won five of the seven last state finals.”
In Jehl’s first season, the Spartans played at Prairie View, the state championship course, shooting 414 — more than 100 strokes off the pace to win a title.
A few years later, they advanced to the regional, but lost in a tie-breaker. Then, they got to fourth and fifth place before winning in 2019.
“We went from barely making it out of the sectional,” Jehl said.
“We’ve become a very serious title contender. Success breeds success. Kids know that makes them better and those around them better.”