High School Sports

Girls' golf: Madison Central holds off Paul Dunbar to claim first regional championship

Madison Central's Tristyn Nowlin watches her tee shot on the 9th fairway during the girls' 7th region golf tournament at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins
Madison Central's Tristyn Nowlin watches her tee shot on the 9th fairway during the girls' 7th region golf tournament at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins Herald-Leader

The rough was more like marshland and the bunkers more like mud pits in the 7th Region Tournament at Keene Run Golf Course in Nicholasville on Tuesday.

That still wasn't enough to slow down Madison Central senior Tristyn Nowlin, who shot a 1-under-72 to claim the individual title and lead her team to its first girls high school region championship and a trip to the state tournament. The Indians shot 324 as a unit.

Nowlin was the only golfer to shoot under par in conditions she called "crazy."

She heads to the state tournament second to Lauren Hartlage of Elizabethtown in All-State points, which are accumulated throughout the season.

"Everything was just soaking wet," said Nowlin, who felt confident entering the tournament thanks in part to a practice round over the course on Sunday. She shot a 64 in much drier weather.

"Some of my putts didn't drop but I'm very happy with a 72," Nowlin said.

A slight steady rain was present when Nowlin's flight — which included individual runner-up Leslie Ginter of Henry Clay and Rachel Fine of Paul Laurence Dunbar, who tied for ninth — teed off at about 10:50 a.m. By the time they hit the middle of their round, heavier showers weaved in and out of the area before giving way to cloudy weather as they finished on No. 18.

Nowlin's flight was on the course for nearly seven hours. They handed in their scorecards at 5:45 p.m. She was happy the tournament finished in one day even though at times she couldn't see her ball.

"I thought it was going to be delayed but we played through," she said. "It's really good that we got done."

Indians Coach Mike Neal said if he'd been playing in Tuesday's conditions he probably would have quit. He was proud that his girls fought through and accomplished something they set out to do when most of them were freshmen.

"I told this team four years ago that our goal was to go to the state tournament this year," Neal said. "And we made it."

Paul Laurence Dunbar shot 326 as a team to claim the runner-up berth to the state tournament. Lexington Christian took third at 351.

Bulldogs Coach Ashlee Hunt told her team its attitude about the unsavory conditions would determine its fate. They stayed positive and earned a second straight state tournament appearance. Dunbar won the 7th Region last season.

"I've had many experiences where I've seen people place second in regionals and then they come and win state," Hunt said.

Ginter will represent Henry Clay at state, as will Sara Bidarian, who tied for ninth. Judianne Speach of West Jessamine) and Hannah Griffith of Lexington Christian also qualified for state.

It will be Ginter's and Bidarian's first trip to Bowling Green as individuals but their sixth overall. Henry Clay, which collectively shot 374, was gunning for a sixth straight state tournament.

Blue Devils Coach Kevin Mims said it'd be different concentrating on the individual trophy instead of the team title at state. He didn't think the ugly conditions mattered too much in the end, for his team or any others.

"Everybody had to play the same course," Mims said. "You had girls shooting par so how can you complain?"

At least one golfer enjoyed the wet weather: Madison Central's Mattie Neeley.

"I liked playing through the rain because I played good," the eighth-grader said with a laugh. She tied for seventh overall.

7th region tournament

At Keene Run, Nicholasville


1. Madison Central 324, 2. Paul Laurence Dunbar 326, 3. Lexington Christian 351, 4. Henry Clay 374, 5. Western Hills 405; 6. West Jessamine 408, 7. Lafayette 422, 8. Anderson Co. 426, 9. Boyle Co. 427, 10. Tates Creek 433, 11. Lexington Catholic 435, 12. Berea 460, 13. Franklin Co. 473, 14. Woodford Co. 467, 15. Model 503, 16. Sayre 545.


72—Tristyn Nowlin, Madison Central

76—Leslie Ginter, Henry Clay

78—Judianne Speech, West Jessamine

79—Shelby Campbell, Paul Dunbar

80—Sarah Black, Paul Dunbar

81—MacKenzie Neal, Madison Central

83—Rebecca Fine, Paul Dunbar; Mattie Neeley, Madison Central

84—Rachel Fine, Paul Dunbar; Sara Bidarian, Henry Clay; Hannah Griffith, Lexington Christian

85—Samantha Stewart, Boyle County; Laney Fryer, Lexington Christian

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