BOWLING GREEN — St. Xavier reassumed its place atop Kentucky high school golf by winning its 19th state championship on Saturday.
The Tigers were prohibitive favorites coming into the Leachman/KHSAA State Tournament, and they played up to their No. 1 billing.
Led by junior Allen Hamilton, St. X finished with a team total of 10-over par. That was 27 shots better than runners-up Franklin County and McCracken County.
Daniel Utley, a Tates Creek grad, guided St. X to state titles his first two years as coach (in 2008 and '09), but the Tigers had come up short the last three years.
"Anytime you win it's fantastic, but we got a little spoiled early on when we won a couple in a row," Utley said. "It's nice to sit on top of the pedestal again."
Hamilton, whose sister Maddie led Sacred Heart to its fourth straight girls' title a few days earlier, shot 71-72—143 to lead the champs.
Vince Hamilton, Allen and Maddie's dad, played on St. X's 1981 state title team.
"This means the world to me," Allen said. "We had a lot of confidence coming in because we were going for our 10th win in a row this year."
While Hamilton tied for third, his teammates — all juniors — did their part. Drew Kiehl and Michael Sass tied for 12th. Bill Basham and Matt Liston tied for 18th.
"We create a culture for this golf team of improvement and dedication," Utley said. "And this group of juniors takes that to task."
While St. X took the team title, Owensboro Catholic junior John Augenstein captured medalist honors.
Augenstein said he made a list of goals at the start of the summer golf season, and the last item on his list was to win the high school title.
Augenstein, who has committed to Vanderbilt, weathered rainy, wet conditions over the weekend to fire a pair of 69s to finish 6-under and win by three shots.
"All of the good golfers who've come out of Kentucky have won this championship, so it means a lot to win it," Augenstein said.
Danville junior Spencer McKinney was runner-up, carding 70-71—141.
St. X's Hamilton, Glasgow sophomore Chase Landrum, and West Jessamine senior Connor Haas tied for third.
It was the third consecutive top 10 finish for Haas, who was part of West Jessamine's state championship teams the past two years.
Haas shot 70-73—143. His first round was suspended because of rain, so he had to play 23 holes on Saturday.
He played well from tee to green, but he couldn't cash in enough birdie chances.
"It seemed like nothing would fall in," he said. "I couldn't make a putt.
"I only had three bogeys the entire tournament but still only shot 1-under."
Franklin County junior Jacob Cook, the region champ, led the runner-up Flyers. He shot 73-75—148 and tied for 11th place.