The Kentucky high school golf season has virtually hit its halfway point of the season and Saturday showed despite players maybe being in midseason form, wind can still wreak havoc on a golf course.
A total of 21 teams and 115 golfers competed in the Laurel Oaks Classic at Laurel Oaks Golf Course. Although it felt great temperature-wise, wind gusts costs scores to go up. None of the 115 were able to finish their round under par as Morgan County’s Blake Evans took home individual medalist with an even-par 72.
Right on his heels was Mason County’s Mason Butler, finishing with a one-over 73. Butler flirted with even-par all day, even getting as low as 2-under, before double bogeys on No. 8 and No. 16 put him up to 2-over. He’d regroup on No. 17, a Par 5, with a birdie and missed his birdie putt on No. 18 to try and force a tie and a playoff with Evans.
“When he doubled 16 and then came back and birdied 17, that means a lot to me and should to him too,” Royals coach Chad Mefford said. “He was pretty solid all day.”
Butler’s personal best on the course was a 72, just missing out on that mark and a possible individual title.
“I hit the ball off the tee pretty good. Some second shots were pretty tight to get me some looks at birdies. I doubled two Par 3’s, that’s four strokes, at least they could have been bogeys and I shoot around 70,” Butler said. “Today showed what I can do if I play good. Today wasn’t my best and I could have shot lower. It makes me mad, but that’s golf, what are you gonna do.”
As for the Royals team, they shot 315 and finished in third, six shots off from first-place Montgomery County. St. Henry finished in second with a 313.
“The goal was to finish in the top three and maybe clip Highlands and we got that done,” Mefford said. “We had the best team from the 12th (Montgomery County), Highlands and St. Henry here who are really good. Six shots out of first, we’re moving in the right direction and I’m very proud of us.”
Mason County’s scoring was rounded out by Evan Schumacher posting a 77, Kaden Grooms a 78, Logan Shepherd an 87 and Spencer Magee an 88. Schumacher was in contention after 14 holes and 2-over, but finished 3-over in his final three holes of the day, ending in a tie for ninth individually.
“Real nice round for Evan Schumacher today. He was 2-over with four holes to go. He’s got a lot of talent, big kid, just have to get the mental aspect of it down. We’re growing mentally and physically and headed in the right direction,” Mefford said.
Lewis County finished seventh with a 348 led by Logan Liles’ 78. Liles was followed by teammates Cameron Ruckel with an 83, Austin Ruggles an 86, Mark Sparks a 101 and Avery Sexton a 109. Liles was 2-over at the turn, but couldn’t seem to find the right rhythm throughout the day, getting up to 7-over after a bogey on 16, before closing out with a birdie and a par.
Mason County also placed a “B” team in the event, shooting a 371. That team was led by Quin Grooms and JD Shepherd with 89’s, followed by Zack Ring with a 91 and Chase Walton with a 102.
Fleming County shot a 401 and finished 19th. They were led by Logan Hughes with an 85. After Hughes was Hunter High with a 101, Jarren Wallingford with a 104, Samuel Johnson a 111 and Hunter McIntyre a 121.
With regional tournaments roughly 30 calendar days away, teams will start gearing up for that as the season is in its halfway mark.
“Once you get through those first two or weeks, things slow down a little bit, but it was nice for us because we got to practice here for six or seven days before this tournament. The 315 is really nice. Didn’t have the best days for some, but still super proud of them, we’ve had a nice start to the season and headed toward that goal in the end of September,” Mefford said.