Given a choice, Jacob Hash and Spencer Wood would prefer to be joined at the regional by the entire Franklin boys golf team.
But after the Grizzly Cubs fell one stroke short of advancing as a team at last week’s sectional, Hash and Wood are delighted to have moved on as individual qualifiers.
The regional is Thursday at Champions Pointe Golf Club in Henryville. Hash qualified with a 1-over-par 73, a career-low. Wood advanced with a 78.
Sectional champion Center Grove advanced as a team. Although Franklin missed the team cut, coach Curt Holcroft couldn’t be happier for Hash and Wood.
“The personalities of these two kids are almost identical. Both are quiet and lead by example,” Holcroft said. “They just go about their business and do the work they’re supposed to.”
Hash, who has occupied the No. 3 slot in the lineup, has had his good days and bad days this season but saved his best for the sectional round at Heartland Crossing.
“I just keep punching away at it, and on Friday I felt my game coming together,” Hash said of his sectional performance. “I set two goals for the day: no double-bogeys and no three-putts, although I did have one three-putt hole.
“My swing has always been good. I just have to play within my own skin and stay out of the way of myself.”
Wood has been the Cubs’ No. 5 player — the same number he wears on his jersey as a member of the Cubs’ varsity basketball team.
“Jake and I have been working hard all season,” Wood said. “I’ve stayed after practice and put the hours in to improve my game. What’s been most important is learning course management and keeping a discipline about it.
“Really, I just mind my own business out on the course.”
What Hash and Wood have achieved is a reminder of 2003 U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk, known for his quiet demeanor. One of his nicknames is “The Businessman.”
Holfcroft sees the same quality in his regional qualifiers.
“I love that in them,” Holcroft said. “With a player who gets too emotionally high or too emotionally low, their round is like a roller-coaster and leaves them drained. With Jake and Spencer, they’re just so even-keeled; and no matter what’s going on, they keep focus and keep it going. That’s what you want in a player, especially with their caliber of play.
“They don’t chit-chat a lot. Honestly, when you look at them, you couldn’t tell if they were having the worst day of their life or the best day of their life. The ironic thing is, when you get the whole team together, they act differently in a fun way than what you see on the course.”
Hash and Wood understand what’s in front of them Thursday at the challenging Fuzzy Zoeller championship course, where they’ll be playing against some of the top-ranked teams and best golfers in the state.
Only the top five individuals and top three teams will advance to the June 20-21 state finals at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin.
What they’ll be shooting for is yet another day to play on.