Coming off of a canceled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seymour golfers Owen Marshall and Ethan Dippold wanted to make the most of their senior year.
The seasonlong goal was for them to help the Owls qualify for regional as a team. While that came up short, Marshall and Dippold came through in Monday’s sectional to advance to Thursday’s regional.
At Cascades Golf Course in Bloomington, Marshall won sectional with a season-best and school-record-tying 67, and Dippold also advanced as an individual with a season-best 78.
The momentum was on their side in the regional at Champions Pointe Golf Club in Henryville, but the competition gets tougher as the season progresses.
Marshall’s 5-over-par 77 was three strokes away from the last golfer earning a spot in the state finals, and Dippold’s season also ended after shooting an 85.
“It’s not an easy course, but it’s just one of those days,” Marshall said. “You just burn the edges all day, and you’ve just got to put yourself in the position to make putts, and I did that today, and I just didn’t capitalize.”
This was Marshall’s second time at regional at Champions Pointe, as he qualified as a sophomore.
“It’s great to step up on the first tee and feel the pressure. It’s a great feeling,” he said. “Sophomore year, I was in contention coming down the stretch, as well. Just kind of the same story, just needed a couple more putts to fall. It’s nice to have that feeling of coming down the stretch knowing it’s in your hands and you’ve go to go do something, and unfortunately today, I wasn’t able to.”
Thursday was Dippold’s first time at regional.
“It’s probably the hardest one we’ve played,” he said of the course. “It was wet, making it play longer, so you just can’t take a long iron out of the rough.”
Marshall was in a foursome that was the first to tee off Thursday, and Dippold was right behind him.
Marshall started with back-to-back pars but bogeyed the third and fifth holes. He had his only birdie on the par-5 sixth hole, but he had a double bogey on No. 8 to finish with 3-over 39 on the front nine.
“I started a little slow,” he said. “I was missing them a little bit, had a couple of bad bogeys on the front nine and had a bad three-putt double, so that kind of put me behind the eight ball going into the back nine and I had to play well.”
Marshall was even through the first three holes on the back nine before his first of two bogeys on that half of the course. His other one came on the 18th hole.
“I hit the ball. I couldn’t have asked to hit it better on the back nine,” he said. “I really missed one shot on the back nine, and I couldn’t get a putt to fall.”
For Dippold on the front nine, he also had his first bogey on the third hole and then had another one on No. 4. He, however, birdied the fifth hole and only had one more bogey for a 38.
The back nine started off with a three-putt double bogey on the 10th hole, and he wound up with only two pars the rest of the way.
“I started off how I wanted to — par, par,” Dippold said. “Then the back side, I guess I forgot how to play golf. It happens.”
While the two seniors were disappointed to see their season end, coach Jim Hoffman was proud of their effort.
“Owen’s work ethic is second to none,” Hoffman said. “He really wanted (to qualify for state). You hate to see it go that way. He played a great round. He had five or six putts that stopped an inch or two short, had one of those days.”
He said Marshall and Dippold have been leaders since they were freshmen.
“It has been great having those two. It has been a great fit. It has been nice having them, and I can always count on them,” Hoffman said.
“They’ve just been great for the program, great leaders and role models for the younger kids,” he said. “We’re freshman- and sophomore-oriented. Watching these two carry themselves this year has been a blessing for us to have (the underclassmen) watch them. Hopefully, it shows other kids to go out and work hard.”
Hoffman said the two also represented Seymour, themselves and their families well.
“Sportsmanship is key, and these two have been really good,” he said. “They’ve made a lot of good friends on the golf course. You watch them interact with other kids. That’s what it’s about. On that final run, nobody is going to remember what happened here. They are going to remember your friendships, so it has been a blessing for us. We’re going to be sorely missing them.”
Marshall and Dippold are going to hold onto the fact that nobody can take their accomplishments away from them.
Marshall also played golf in the offseason, so he considered it rewarding to make it to regional twice in a sport he loves.
“I would have really liked to get out today. That was my main goal all year,” he said. “To get here is always a big deal. Not everybody does it, and there are a lot of good players that don’t get here, so it means a lot.”
Dippold was a three-sport athlete in high school and was happy to make it to regional in his final sport.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “I guess I’m almost validated I finally made it here.”
Making it to regional with a teammate and friend made Thursday’s regional that much sweeter for the seniors.
“I’m happy for Ethan to get to experience it. He’s a great player, as well, so I’m happy for him,” Marshall said.
“That was fun. That was really cool,” Dippold said. “We came down here yesterday to play a practice round, and to get to be here today, it was really neat.”
In the fall, Marshall and Dippold will be back together as roommates at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Marshall is majoring in business management and was a direct admit for the Kelley School of Business, and Dippold is majoring in business.
Dippold said he doesn’t think he will continue with golf, but Marshall has hopes of joining the Jaguars’ men’s golf team.
“If everything goes as planned, I’m going to try to walk on up there,” Marshall said. “I want to continue. I’d love to play if I had a chance to play. It would be a perfect situation.”