By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – On his final hole on Senior Day, the last time to walk the home course of Otis Park in competition, Colton Staggs swished a 20-foot birdie putt. Nothing but net, although if the ball had not found the cup, at the rate of speed when it disappeared, it might have rolled down the steep slope of the ninth’s double-tier green and taken off for the airport.
What a way to go. How many players can brag about a birdie on the last hole of their farewell tour? That closing shot capped his 2-over 39 on the front nine as Bedford North Lawrence celebrated Senior Day with the expected wins over West Washington and Mitchell on Thursday afternoon.
With Staggs earning medalist honors, the Stars carded 168 to conquer the Senators (209) and Bluejackets (no team score). BNL honored the careers of Staggs, Jett Jones and Houston Corbin, who have been through multiple senior celebrations this year. This had the weight of finality with it. School is out, the gradation ceremony looms, and the future calls.
While Staggs (who also birdied the fourth hole) finished with a quality score, that’s not all that common for a senior as the curtain falls. Jones carded 42, Corbin struggled with his group’s slow play and posted a 47 (with a birdie on the par-5 sixth). Their day was more about what good lies ahead rather than the bad lies they encountered.
“It went really quick, almost too quick,” Jones said. “Golf is more of a family. There’s not very many of us, so we have a close relationship. I’ll always remember that.”
Staggs and Jones both played football and basketball (and helped win Hoosier Hills Conference titles in both), Corbin was also a member of the basketball team. Those sports carry the stress of expectations. Golf is its own animal, the stress is self-inflicted on each swing, tabulated on each scorecard. What other sport can a senior wear a Hawaiian shirt (the BNL tradition) as the uniform on Senior Day?
“Golf is a lot more relaxing,” said Corbin, who ranks third in the BNL senior class and plans to attend Indiana University for business. “We can have fun together, it’s going out with your friends. I had more fun in practices than actual matches. You get to play with your good friends, instead of complete strangers during the matches.”
Staggs didn’t take up the game until two years ago, when Jones convinced him to play. He fell in love with it quickly. His memories will revolve around the odd (a competitor using a beer bottle cap as a ball marker certainly qualifies) and the entertaining. Now his best memory could be that last putt.
“That’s a good one,” he said. “It was a fun day. I just love the game.”
BNL’s team scoring was capped by Tyler Bellush’s 42 and Drew McKee’s 45.
Mitchell failed to compile a team score when Nate Bowles had to withdraw with an illness during the round.
The Stars will conclude the regular season on Saturday when they compete in the Washington Invitational at Country Oaks.
BNL 168, West Washington 209, Mitchell NS
BNL – Jett Jones 42, Colton Staggs 39, Tyler Bellush 42, Houston Corbin 47, Drew McKee 45, Carson Root 49, Dillon Lewis 53, Parker Foddrill 51
WW – Jackson Wiseman 54, Landon Holloway 48, Carson Mollet 55, Conner Gates 61, Caden Abbott 65, Silas Batt 52, Gavin Mancine 61
Mitchell – Nate Bowles WD, Kolton Kendall 64, Braxton Jones 73, Landon Terrell 72