BOWLING GREEN — Call them the Comeback Colts.
And call them state champions.
West Jessamine rallied from 12 shots down to overtake perennial power St. Xavier and win the Leachman/KHSAA State Golf Tournament on Saturday.
Colts junior Fred Allen Meyer, individual runner-up last year, took top honors this time around at Bowling Green Country Club.
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Meyer shot 71-70—141 to tie Paducah St. Mary senior Joey Mayo, who carded 69-72—141. Meyer won a sudden-death playoff on the second hole, but he said his medalist honors paled in comparison to West Jessamine's team championship.
"I really wasn't even worried about the individual title," he said. "It's nice, but the team title is really awesome."
Coach Adam Young said his Colts were convinced they could make up a dozen shots on the second day of the 36-hole competition.
"Our mind-set was good. We only had (St. X) to catch. It's one thing to be down 12 and have four or five teams in front of you, but we only had one.
"Still, what we did today against an opponent like St. X, with five Division I golfers, it's amazing."
West Jessamine junior Byron Speach, who went out first, set the tone for the comeback. After an 83 on Friday, he came back with a 71 on Saturday.
"The kids feed off who's going first, and Byron got off to a great start and held it there," Young said. "Under that kind of pressure, it was probably the best round of his life."
The rest of the Colts followed Speach's lead: Meyer, sophomore Connor Haas (79-72—151), senior Travis Rose (77-75—152), junior Austin Swentzel (78-77—155).
Meyer, who has committed to Kentucky, played in the anchor position and capped things off with a birdie on the last hole. That gave West Jessamine a team total of 593, two shots better than St. X.
"To be down 12 and come back to win is just crazy," said Rose, whose sister Ashlee was on West Jessamine's girls' state golf title team in 2007.
"Everybody pitched in and played the best he could."
Young told his players to take a "match-play demeanor" into the final round since they were paired with St. X.
"I told them to take care of business with who you're playing and we'll see what happens at the end."
The Colts were within five shots of St. X at the turn, then finished strong down the stretch.
"This is the year we've been waiting for," Young said. "These guys have been playing since the sixth and seventh grade, taking their lumps, but they kept getting better. They've matured so much over the last two years."
Young said West Jessamine's title was also a victory for public schools in a sport dominated by private schools such as St. X, Lexington Christian Academy and Paducah St. Mary.
St. X was led by Stephen Stallings, last year's medalist, who shot 71-74—145 to take third place. Scott County junior Billy Tom Sargent (73-73—146) was fourth. Clay County sophomore Tyler McDaniel (74-73—147) tied for fifth.
Lexington Catholic, fifth in the team standings, was led by senior Matthew Mahle (77-72—149), who finished eighth.
Tates Creek senior Chandler Morgan (74-79—153) tied for 15th.