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The Marion County High School boys golf team came out firing Saturday at the Garrard County Invitational. Despite shooting their best score in the last 24 years, they could have done even better.
Head Coach Freddie Leathers said the team’s 305 was the best score he’s seen since he began coaching the team in 1986.
“We came in fourth but we shot the best score we’ve had. I don’t know what the scores were before I started coaching but it’s the best we’ve had since ’86,” Leathers said.
Taylor Brady was the low man with 74. Brian Loper had a 75 while Joseph George had a 77. Tommy Carrico had a 79. Joseph Elder, whose score did not count toward the team total, had an 81.
Boyle County won the tournament with a 299, which came as a shocker because the Knights have beaten them in tournament play before. Scott County, who Leathers thought might win, came in second with a 300. Corbin finished third with a 303.
“We were in great shape to win the tournament with two to three holes left in the match," Leathers said. "Taylor Brady and Brian Loper were one under, Joseph George was three or four over and Tommy Carrico was six over. We were seven over with three four holes to go. If we pared in that would have given us 291."
Hole number 17, a short par four, would be a killer for the Knights. Two players double bogeyed the hole and knocked the Knights out of contention.
“Tommy had a tough front side," Leathers said. "I think it’s the harder side. It’s the same tournament he had a 71 and won last season. He also had 79 in region tournament there last year. He’s been hitting a lot of greens and fairways but not making any putts. Taylor (Brady) has played steady throughout the season. He was mad because he was even par with five holes to go, so he was upset he finished with 74... We’re playing pretty good right now. Come region time if we can shoot 305 I’ll be tickled to death. I still think we could shoot 305 or 306 at Maywood during the regional tournament."
Marion County also won their match against Adair County last week at Adair County.
“We won the match but I think we could have played better. You hate to be picky and not happy about a win. I think the boys were also disappointed,” Leathers said.
Marion County won by a slim two strokes, 153 to 155.
Tommy Carrico finished with 37 while Joseph George had a 38 and Taylor Brady had a 39. Joseph Elder had a 40 and Brian Loper finished with 41. Ben Bradshaw rounded out the match with a 54.
With their win, Marion County improved to 7-1 in match play.
On Monday of last week, the Knights fell to region favorite West Jessamine at Maywood in Bardstown.
West Jessamine lead all teams with a 155. Marion County finished out second with 166. Taylor County was third with 174 and Nelson County finished last at 199.
Despite one blemish, Leathers was overall pleased with the progress the team has shown.
“They’re starting to understand that they’ve got a chance to be a real good team," Leathers said. "I don’t have to call practice; they work on their own. I think the kids have their heads on straight. We have two good senior leaders with Carrico and George. Other kids see them working and work harder too. It’s nice to have that kind of senior leadership. Taylor Brady is within tenths of a point of Tommy’s average. He’s made big strides. Joseph George has picked up his play. His average was 80 but he recently shot a 73 and 77."
The Knights will have their first home match of the season on Tuesday night at Rosewood Golf Course against Bethlehem. On Saturday they play in the Tates Creek Invitational.
“Tates Creek will be different for us. It’s for people who control the ball and hit the fairways. If you hit straight you can score well, if not you can expect big numbers. We’ll have to adjust our game because our guys like to hit it far. It’s a pretty tight course,” Leathers said.