FORT WAYNE – The Bellmont boys golf team knew about the difficult greens at Orchard Ridge Country Club.
And when the players arrived Saturday for the NHC Tournament, and took a look at their surroundings, their thoughts were confirmed.
“As soon as we got here, we knew we had to (do well) on the greens because that would be the thing that was most different,” Chase Ellsworth said. “We normally play at Cross Creek Golf Club and the greens there aren't like they are here. They are a little slower there. So making that adjustment was the biggest thing and I think we did it pretty well.”
The Braves sure did, combining for a score of 325 to win the tournament, edging host Homestead by one stroke.
Ellsworth led the Braves with a 4-over 75, the best score of the day on the 6,235-yard course.
After going 4-3 in conference play during the regular season, tying for fourth place, the tournament victory secured the Braves a second-place finish in the conference-championship standings.
Homestead, which was 7-0 in the regular season, took the conference title with 14 points (based on regular season and tournament combined), edging Bellmont by two and Columbia City by three.
Chris Eigner paced Homestead with a 76 – he shot a 5-over 41 on the front nine and an even-par 35 on the back – and his total was tied for second on the day with Sterling Price of Bellmont and Michael Sharp of East Noble.
“I played pretty good. My front nine wasn't the way I wanted it to be, but the back nine was really nice,” Eigner said.
It's nothing new for Bellmont to be led by Ellsworth, who tied for 22nd at the state finals in 2012, going 11-over through two rounds at The Legends of Indiana in Franklin.
“I had been pretty up and down (earlier) this season,” Ellsworth said. “I'd either player really well or really poorly. But I've become pretty consistent over the last couple weeks.”
He had plenty of assistance from Price's 76, Grant Ainsworth's 86 and Patrick Wright's 88.
“We kind of expected to do well,” Price said. “But as a team, we needed to pull through and we did with some low scores. It worked out for us.”
Homestead got an 81 from Nick Myers, an 82 from Ellis Yoder and an 87 from Alec Cunningham.
Columbia City, which was a second-place 5-2 in the regular season, finished third in the tournament with a 332.
The Eagles were paced by Spencer Klimek's 77. Tyler Green posted a 79. Max Dryer had an 87. And Trent Murphy carded an 89.
Carroll placed fourth with a 342, led by Jake Ramsey's 82 and Garrett Leeper's 84. DeKalb placed fifth with a 344, led by Hunter Cone's 79.
And East Noble was sixth with a 350 and a day it was clear early from the start only one team, Homestead, could catch Bellmont.
No team did.
“We've been playing pretty consistent,” Ellsworth said. “We're all around 80 and then we'll have two or three in the 70s, so we've been playing well lately.”