The start of Kentucky’s 2017-18 high school sports season was a little wetter than wished for. It also lasted as long as possible, too.
A patch of rain moved into Lexington and caused a delay of about two hours in the Five-Star General Invitational at the Gay Brewer Jr. Golf Course at Picadome on Friday morning. The varsity portion of the boys’ tournament began at 1 p.m., but play was halted shortly after. Golfers returned to the course at about 3:30 p.m. to finish the 18-hole event. A tie for first place forced a playoff and the tournament concluded at 8:56 p.m., seven minutes after sunset.
Sophomores JM Butler and Drew Doyle battled for the individual title. Louisville Trinity’s Butler edged St. Xavier’s Doyle by parring the second playoff hole to take the honor. Both had shot a 3-under-par 69 through 18 holes.
Trinity bested St. Xavier, the two-time defending state champions, for the team title as well.
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“It’s always great to come out on top,” said Butler, who parred holes 15, 16 and 17 and birdied No. 18. “I really pulled it together there at the end.”
Butler was one of the few participants wearing long pants on the muggy summer day.
“It’s been a longtime thing, me wearing pants in the summer instead of shorts,” Butler said with a laugh. “I don’t own a black pair of shorts yet, so maybe my parents will buy me one.”
Friday was the first day that regular-season boys’ and girls’ golf tournaments were allowed to be held, meaning Friday was the first day of the 2017-18 KHSAA season. The Scott County Invitational at Greenbrier Country Club, scheduled to start at noon at on Monday, is the first girls’ event in Lexington this season.
Lafayette head coach Todd Reynolds, in his seventh year leading the team, started the Five-Star General Invitational six years ago to serve as a fundraiser for the team and to bring together a strong field of schools to kick off the season.
In addition to Trinity and St. Xavier, four of Friday’s participants — Covington Catholic, Franklin County, Ryle and Taylor County — finished in the top seven at last year’s state meet.
“This is probably the best field that we’ve had since we started it, as far as teams go,” Reynolds said.
Usually the weather’s more cooperative than it was this year.
“We’ve been so lucky,” Reynolds said with a laugh. “I think the whole time that I’ve been coach we’ve only had three rainouts in tournaments.”
Fayette County’s public schools play one another in match play throughout the season and keep track of individuals’ points based on finishes in those matches. Those points are then added to an individuals’ finish in the annual city tournament to determine an all-city team ahead of regional play in mid-September.
The Generals, who have won three of the last four city tournaments, will host this year’s event at Picadome. Reynolds thinks fans who might not have come out and watched high school golf before would be surprised by how much the team aspect positively affects the competition.
“When you’re on the golf course, even if guys don’t see each other, they kind of feed off each other and how they’re playing,” Reynolds said. “There’s some chemistry there. It’s really strange that they can be two or three hundred yards from each other and not even talking to each other, but when one guy starts playing good, it kind of carries over. It’s really strange, but it works that way.
“Team golf is so fun even though it is an individual sport. It’s just cool.”
Sayre’s Jack Bergstrom, who shot an even par-72, was the highest-finishing Lexington golfer in a tie for fifth place in the individual standings.
Five-Star General Invitational
At Gay Brewer Jr. Golf Course at Picadome
Team standings—1. Trinty 293, 2. St. Xavier 296, 3. Taylor County 303, 4. Madison Central 308, t5. Ballard 312, t5. Ryle 312, 7. Scott County 318, 8. Taylor County (B) 319, t9. Lexington Christian 321, t9. Henry Clay 321, t9. Covington Catholic 321, 12. Lafayette 322, 13. Christian Academy-Louisville 330, 14. Paul Laurence Dunbar 336, t15. Boyle County 341, t15. Franklin County 341, 17. Tates Creek 347, 18. Lexington Catholic 349, 19. West Jessamine 361, 20. South Oldham 385.
Top individuals—1. JM Butler, Trinity, 69 (won playoff); 2. Drew Doyle,, St. Xavier, 69; t3. Cooper Parks, Taylor County, 71; t3. Tyler Chandler, Covington Catholic, 71; t5. Hudson Hummel, Trinity, 72; t5. Jack Bergstrom, Sayre, 72; 7. Frankie Morgan, Trinity, 73; t8. Luke Coyle, Taylor County, 74; t8. Zach Miller, Madison Central, 74; t8. Jay Kirchdorfer, St. Xavier, 74; t8. Ryan Clements, Ryle, 74