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The Marion County High School boys golf team battled some of the state's best teams this week and came out with only a few scratches.
Head Coach Freddie Leathers sent his team into the fray this week in two tough tournaments (Danville Invitational, Taylor County Cardinal Classic) and competed in match play against local rivals such as Taylor, Campbellsville and Washington County.
The Knights remain undefeated in match play and finished fairly well in the tournaments. While the Knights aren't hitting on all cylinders yet, there have been some good surprises so far.
"I thought it was a good week to start out," Head Coach Freddie Leathers said. "It was a semi-sweet week. We played as good as we ever played Wednesday night (at Campbellsville) and as poor as we've ever played Thursday night at Washington County. Danville was decent finish and the Taylor County tournament was probably as bad as we'll play. We finished sixth in what I would consider a major tournament. We were only a few shots out of beating a good Christian Academy of Louisville team."
Marion County shot 328 as a team. Saint Xavier High School won the tournament for the second year in a row with 303. Greenwood and Elizabethtown tied for second with 309.
Tommy Carrico led the way for the Knights with 79. Joseph George finished with 81. Taylor Brady and Brian Loper had 84 and Joseph Elder shot 91.
Matthew Anderson from Monroe County was the individual winner in the tournament, shooting 70.
"We played very poorly and I think the heat and humidity affected our play late in the day," Leathers said. "We played the first nine holes around 15 over but the back nine saw us regress and shoot 29 over par. I think as the poor shots increased we began to succumb to the heat and lost our concentration. The team has to learn that every shot, whether it is early or late in the round, holds the same consequence and importance. I look forward to next week's tournament in Louisville. It will give us another taste of some of the state's best competition. I believe this team will rebound with an excellent showing at the KIT."
On Thursday of last week, Marion County defeated Washington County 166 to 171 at Lincoln Homestead State Park in Springfield.
Joseph George led the way with 39 while Tommy Carrico shot 40. Taylor Brady had 42 and Joseph Elder shot 45. Brian Loper finished with 50. Ben Bradshaw (55), Blair Gorley (56) and Brooks Divine (60) rounded out the match for the Knights.
Leathers said the Knights pulled a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the night before, when they blazed the course at Campbellsville Country Club.
"We were not mentally ready to play today and we were lucky to remain undefeated," Leathers said.
On Wednesday of last week the Knights defeated Campbellsville and Taylor County at Campbellsville Country Club. Marion County finished at 153 (five over par) while Taylor County shot 165 and Campbellsville shot 199.
Taylor Brady finished two under par with 35. Tommy Carrico and Joseph George finished with 38 each. Brian Loper shot 42 and Joseph Elder walked away with 43. Blair Gorley finished with 44 and Ben Bradshaw shot 50.
"Taylor Brady continued his fine play by shooting a team best 2 under par," Leathers said. "Tommy Carrico and Joseph George rebounded off a poor effort at Danville with very good rounds. If we can bring this same game to the tournament Saturday, we should be able to be make a strong showing."
The Knights kicked off the season with an appearance in the Danville Invitational at Danville Country Club.
"We finished third behind two strong teams; one the host team and the other a team that returns the whole group that finished fourth in the state last year, but I am disappointed with our overall play," Leathers said. "We had too many penalty shots among our top golfers. I was hoping to score in the 304-308 range. I feel like this team is very capable of shooting that type of score each time, but I realize that in golf strange things happen, both good and bad. Hopefully we can build on this experience and work on our weaknesses and become a better team. I was real happy with the scores for Brian Loper and Taylor Brady. They both have improved and given us the team strength needed to compete day in and day out. Joseph Elder also had a good day for us, but he faltered the last four or five holes and we need him to become confident enough to finish strong; he was only two over par with about five holes to go."
Brian Loper led the way with 75. Taylor Brady shot 77 and Tommy Carrico had 78. Joseph Elder finished with 83.
Taylor Brady had a strong week for the Knights, playing above expectations.
"Taylor Brady is the big surprise. He's playing consistent and well," Leathers said. "He played well until the last five or six holes at Taylor County. He's been strong and has maybe the second best average on the team. He's a big surprise. He's very capable of shooting par golf. The way he's playing now he could shoot low 70's."
The Knights play Thursday at Green County and Saturday at Nevel Meade in Louisville in the Kentucky Invitational. They'll face Nelson County and West Jessamine on the road Monday. Tuesday they travel to Adair County.