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Homestead’s Chris Eigner has a team-best 18-hole average of 79.1 over seven rounds and had a 42.2 average in 10 nine-hole matches.

Junior leads Spartans

Homestead is a favorite at golf sectional

– Chris Eigner is soft-spoken, not braggadocios, even when it comes to his golf game.

But he’d be entitled to brag a little for he’s certainly good enough.

Over the past year, he’s proved himself as one of the best high school golfers in northeast Indiana by qualifying for the match-play portion of the Boys State Junior Championship, winning a tournament and grabbing four other top-five finishes on the Mountain Dew Junior Tour, along with leading Homestead in what’s been a successful high school season so far.

“We need to stay focused. There’s still a lot of golf that needs to be played,” said Eigner, whose Spartans will take part in the sectional June 6 at Chestnut Hills.

After capturing the NHC championship, the Spartans will be one of the sectional favorites. They are 10-0 in dual matches, including a 7-0 in the conference, and they finished second in the conference tournament Saturday at Orchard Ridge Country Club.

Bellmont won with a 325, edging host Homestead by a stroke.

“We knew they were making a run. They had a good front nine,” said Eigner, a 17-year-old junior. “But we knew that if we got second, we’d still win (the conference title).”

Eigner shot a 5-over 76, one stroke back of the medalist, Bellmont’s Chase Ellsworth.

Through Tuesday, Eigner had a team-best 18-hole average of 79.1 over seven rounds, while averaging 42.2 in 10 nine-hole matches.

“I’m always working on my putting,” Eigner said. “That’s the most important thing, and I’ve been working pretty hard on that.”

The Spartans have a deep roster with Ellis Yoder (82.4 per 18-hole match, 42 per nine-hole match), Nick Myers (80.4, 42.1), Alec Cunningham (83.5, 41.1), Grant Jagger (83.5, 43.1), Nick Kocks (83.7, 41.1) and Eric Martin (83.6, 42.1).

Homestead’s reserves would outscore most area varsity teams.

“This season hasn’t been bad,” Eigner said. “It was a little rough at the beginning, but once we got started it became fine. … We’ve gone 10-0 in the season and that’s pretty good.”

Homestead is hungry to get to the state finals, after failing to make it past regionals the last two years.

After going 11-1 in the 2013 regular season, the Spartans placed third at the Chestnut Hills Sectional with a 318, eight strokes back of victorious Bishop Dwenger. They were led by Eigner’s 5-over 77. The Spartans finished eighth in the regional at Stonehenge Golf Club in Warsaw with a 317, which was 12 strokes back of winning Warsaw. Eigner had an 8-over 79.

Last summer, Eigner’s game improved. At the State Junior, he tied for 30th in stroke play by posting 76 and 77 for 9 over on the Kampen Course in West Lafayette. In match play, he lost 5 and 4 to Michael VanDeventer, who reached the semifinals.

In the Mountain Dew Tour event at Coyote Creek, he shot a 1-over 73 and defeated Patrick Allgeier and Garrett Leeper in a playoff to win the 15- and-16-year-old division.

Through the Tour season, Eigner averaged 76.4 strokes through five events, which was 12th best among 200 players in his division.

Now, he hopes to lead the Spartans to the IHSAA state finals – something he hopes will make college scouts take notice – and that quest will begin at Chestnut Hills.

“Definitely, making the state finals is the goal,” he said. “It is something we talk about.”

jcohn@jg.net

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