Going into the back nine in the final round of the men's city golf championship Sunday, Will Bishop said he was rattled.
The 16-year old began Sunday with a five-shot lead, but a 37 on the front and a 31 from Joseph Barr, one group ahead, closed Bishop's lead to one.
Bishop was told his lead had almost evaporated, and he said that was the motivation he needed to get his game going again.
After pars on 10 and 11, Bishop birdied three of the next four holes. He played it safe into the clubhouse and clinched the city championship in his first year as a participant.
Bishop, a junior-to-be at Paul Dunbar, shot a 73 and finished at 11 under for the tournament, four strokes ahead of Barr, who fired a 4-under 68 Sunday.
"I play golf with Joseph a lot so it didn't surprise me to hear he was charging," Bishop said. "At that point, I was playing like I needed something to motivate me, and that was it. I started hitting putts, and that's what I needed."
As Bishop started running off birdies on the back, he said his confidence grew in two ways — that he could continue playing well the rest of the day, and that Barr couldn't keep up.
Barr started the day seven strokes behind Bishop, and Bishop said he reminded himself of that so he didn't overthink each shot and worry about hitting it close.
On the par-3 15th, Bishop approached his 45-foot putt with hopes of lagging it close and two-putting for par.
But when he saw the putt go over the top of a hill in the middle of the green and descend toward the hole, Bishop lifted his putter in the air in celebration before the ball reached the cup.
"Once it reached the hill, it looked good," Bishop said. "Once it got over the hill, it looked good. It just kept looking good, and it went in for me."
Will's older brother, Danny Bishop, also played in the tournament this week, finished tied for 18th. He finished his round earlier on Sunday, and he made it to the 15th to see Will's big putt.
When the putt dropped, Danny's eyes popped and he took a step back.
"That's a putt right there," Danny said. "After playing well all week, that putt's the last sign that says he deserves to win."
Will Bishop became the first high-schooler to win the city championship since Jim Byington won in 1969. Both golfers were 16 when they won; tournament officials could not determine which golfer was younger by the months-and-days count.
"I think it's safe to say that everyone here is pretty excited about Will winning and having such a young winner, no matter if he's the youngest ever to win it or not," said Mike Fields, director of golf operations for Lexington Parks and Recreation.
The other two golfers in Bishop's group Sunday, Derek Oldham and Brian Fister, faded on the back nine as Bishop surged forward. Fister finished in third place at 4 under while Oldham finished in seventh at even par.
While Bishop knew he had distanced himself from those in his group, he wasn't positive he had created enough distance between himself and Barr until his putt on the 15th.
After that, he said he just aimed to keep himself out of trouble.
"I was 2 under at that point on the day. Unless he was 9 under or something crazy like that, I figured I was in good shape," Bishop said. "I just tried to hit it in the middle of the greens."
He played the final three holes 1 over.
"Worked out pretty well, I guess," he said.
Sunday’s final round at Kearney Hill Links
Will Bishop 69-70-67-71—277
Joseph Barr 68-72-73-68—281
Brian Fister 74-70-68-72—284
Brian Burton 72-70-73-70—285
Buddy Bryant 70-69-76-71—286
Derek Oldham 71-70-70-76—287
Jordan Blann 70-72-71-75—288
Adam Legate 72-66-75-76—289
Kenny Goodykoontz 75-67-72-75—289
Hunter Frazier 67-72-78-72—289
John Kartheiser 67-78-71-75—291
Jordan Voss 71-72-73-76—292
Steven Clark 69-79-70-75—293
Alex Wright 69-76-74-75—294
Michael Asay 72-78-73-71—294
Alex Misback 78-75-72-69—294
Preston Rogers 71-77-70-77—295
Chad Burnett 70-75-74-76—295
Danny Bishop 75-68-78-74—295
Deron Sizemore 73-78-74-70—295
Michael Crabtree 70-74-77-76—297
Steve Humphrey 72-73-76-77—298
Doug Smith 70-78-73-77—298
Alan Thompson 75-78-74-71—298
Tanner Mobley 70-74-77-78—299
Mike Hammann 72-75-76-76—299
Alan Steele 74-76-76-73—299
Clay Perkins 73-71-76-80—300
Chase Carpenter 73-72-77-78—300
Darrell Lear 78-72-76-74—300
Blanton Farmer 73-77-78-72—300
Charlie Schaffer 82-73-74-71—300
Lowell Jackson 77-73-76-75—301
TJ Strong 72-77-76-77—302
Brian James 74-78-75-75—302
Kyle Grizz 75-75-78-74—302
Travis Rodgers 75-72-79-78—304
Ronnie Snowden 73-73-76-83—305
Danny Lattner 76-76-74-79—305
Adam Young 72-79-76-78—305
Alex Worrell 72-74-83-76—305
Jason Cole 73-76-75-82—306
Connor Rose 72-78-79-77—306
Joe Kane 75-73-80-79—307
Travis Rose 81-74-78-74—307
Kenyon Cook 72-80-79-77—308
Scott Mitmesser 79-73-79-78—309
Jeff Baker 74-78-80-77—309
Matt Love 72-79-77-82—310
Rick Johnson 73-75-82-80—310
David Rudder 77-74-84-75—310
Harrison Combs 73-77-82-79—311
Chuck Craig 73-80-80-78—311
Bryan Leake 77-78-79-77—311
Bart Hufnagel 77-76-79-80—312
Derrick Scott 80-75-77-81—313
Chandler Morgan 71-82-79-82—314
Christopher Chee 79-74-81-80—314
Rob Lewis 77-75-77-86—315
Brad Cleaver 74-74-82-85—315
Craig Keller 74-78-80-83—315
Trey Server 74-75-86-80—315
Jason Orr 73-76-87-81—317
Billy Gayheart 78-77-77-86—318
Brent Frederick 77-78-82-81—318
Jeff Taylor 78-77-86-77—318
Jason Greer 79-76-86-82—323
Derek Adams 74-80-86-85—325
Ken Kirchner (4.1) 68-68-68-68—272
Bill Meeks (10.5) 69-68-70-71—278
Jeff Hack (10.8) 68-68-73-69—278
Jeffrey Evans (7.4) 74-68-68-69—279
Don Dean (10.8) 69-70-68-73—280
Jason Rudzik (8.7) 68-71-72-71—282
Timothy Bator (8) 70-71-75-72—288
Floyd Blake Jr (14.8) 68-70-68-74—280
Chris Carter (16.8) 72-71-72-68—283
Bud Burton (14.6) 68-72-76-73—289
Don Cructcher (12.8) 70-74-73-77—294
Bill Spencer (18.6) 71-72-73-79—295
Richard Heine (17.4) 75-68-76-79—298
James Poff (14.1) 70-71-77-84—302