High School Sports

LCA boys romp in region golf; Henry Clay's French wins medalist honors

WINCHESTER — Lexington Christian Academy's boys' golf team always has high hopes for low numbers.

Going into the 9th Region tournament at Winchester Country Club on Tuesday, LCA's target score was 8-under-par 280.

The Eagles didn't quite go that deep into red numbers — they wound up shooting 286 — but that was good enough for a 14-shot victory and a repeat region title.

Preston French of Henry Clay fired a 4-under 68 to take medalist honors and help the Blue Devils to a second-place finish.

LCA and Henry Clay both advance to the state tournament in Bowling Green next week.

Qualifying for the state as individuals were Paul Laurence Dunbar's Will Bishop (69), Madison Central's Kyle Congleton (70) and Model's Will Kelley (73), who beat Scott County's Ashton Van Horne (73) in a playoff.

Before anybody teed off Tuesday, it was assumed LCA, which had a phenomenal regular season, would be all but impossible to beat.

Eagles Coach Eric Geldhof said his players used that pressure of expectations to push them to get ready.

"Our goal came to fruition because we were really prepared," Geldhof said. "We spent three or four days here figuring out our game plan.

"We know we're a good team. We just didn't want to get in the way today."

Taylor Combs and Hager Collins each shot 70 to lead the Eagles. Hunter Stewart and Ethan Sprang had 73s, and Chandler Fischer a 74.

(The four lowest scores count toward team scores.)

Combs, a senior, hasn't played as well as he expected this season, but his teammates have always picked him up. "Today I finally did that for them," he said.

Stewart, also a senior, said faith in each other is what makes LCA so formidable.

"Today was a perfect example," he said. "Taylor played as our five man, and he (tied) for third overall. That shows how solid we are top to bottom, and how confident we are in each other."

LCA, state runner-up last year and third in 2008, is considered the main threat to perennial power and defending champ St. Xavier next week.

Henry Clay Coach Stephen Keinath wasn't surprised his team qualified for the state.

"Going in, I thought if everybody played a solid round of golf we had a pretty good chance," he said. "Look at the numbers we had — they're all pretty solid."

Beside French's 68, the Devils' Andrew Kirk and Michael O'Brien had 77s, Matthew O'Brien a 78 and Harrison Combs an 81.

French got rolling with birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 8 and 9.

"Oh man, what a round," Keinath said. "Preston's been doing that most of the year. Even when he doesn't have his best stuff, he's developed his game to where he can still put up a good number.

"But today he was solid from start to finish."

French said playing with Bishop spurred him on.

"Will got off to such a good start — he was 3-under through four holes — I knew I had to kick it in and get it going to have a chance."

At Winchester Country Club

Team results — Lexington Christian 286; Henry Clay 300; Madison Central 301; Paul Laurence Dunbar 306; Scott County 307; Clark County 308; Lexington Catholic 309; Bourbon County 314; Lafayette 319; Sayre 322; Tates Creek 322; Franklin County 327; Woodford County 333; Paris 348; Model 353; Madison Southern 371; Bryan Station 372; Western Hills 380; Berea 390; Frankfort 415.

Top 25 individuals — 68—Preston French (HC). 69—Will Bishop (PLD). 70—Taylor Combs (LCA), Hager Collins (LCA), Kyle Congleton (MC). 73—Will Kelley (Model), Ashton Van Horne (SC), Ethan Sprang (LCA), Hunter Stewart (LCA). 74—Jordan Carey (Laf), Blake Cartwright (CC), Chandler Fischer (LCA). 75—Ben Fister (LexCath). 76—Dillon Biddle (BC), Brett Crosby (SC), Kyle Scott (FC), Ross Todd (CC). 77—Johnathan Sutton (TC), Will Sallee (Laf), Michael O'Brien (HC), Andrew Kirk (HC), John Cornelison (MC), Dylan Kelley (MC), Brad Newman (MC), Daniel DeLucas (LexCath)..