December 24th, 2014

LCSN top stories of 2014: No. 7

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


LCSN top stories of 2014: No. 7
Sacred Heart's golf team won its fourth straight state title / file photo by Conor Revell

The Louisville Catholic Sports Network has chosen its top 10 stories of 2014 and is posting them in a series that started Dec. 19 with an honorable mention list. LCSN will have a story each day, with the exception of Christmas, until our top story of the year appears on Dec. 31.

Hope was fading for a bit for Sacred Heart’s golf team at the state tournament, but an improbable comeback that ended with a playoff gave the Valkyries their fourth straight state title.

That victory in October put head coach Leslie Bender’s team in elite company. The Valkyries joined the 1984-87 Sacred Heart squads and Glasgow (1997-2000) as the only teams to win four straight titles.

Maddie Hamilton sank a 20-foot par putt that pulled SHA into a tie with Henry Clay and forced a sudden-death playoff after both teams shot a 646 through the 36 holes.

“I knew that I needed to make it,” Hamilton said after winning. “Honestly, I just walked up, I was in my zone. Sometimes I’m able to get in my zone and I can see it. I don’t have to think about it — all I saw was that it was breaking a little left and just put it on my line. It just went in. It was all kind of a blur. It was that zone I was in.”

The Valkyries went on to win the par-5 18th hole 21-23 to claim the state title.

Going into the final round, Sacred Heart led Henry Clay by one stroke. The Blue Devils took the lead after the front nine and built an eight-stroke lead. The Valkyries didn’t tie it until Hamilton’s par putt on the final hole.

“I think I was still in a state of a shock,” Bender said. “I really didn’t know that it was that close. I thought we were out of it. Once I heard we were tied, I knew what it was going to take. Maddie already knew and we talked about it. I don’t know what happened. I never really doubted her. She stood over it and looked confident. If there’s a type of player that can do it, she’s that type of player.”

Sacred Heart shot a 72 on the final three holes while Henry Clay shot a 79, which allowed the Valkyries to climb back in it.

Hamilton shot a 2-over 146 to tie for fifth individually and placed in the top 10 for the third straight year. 

“It’s the coolest thing ever to win four straight state titles,” Hamilton said. “I knew that it was going to be so hard to win this year because we lost three great seniors last year. But we got three great new players this year, two great freshmen and a great sophomore. I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable that we’ve won four straight and to be a part of it is really special.”

Fellow finished tied for 26th with a final score of 163. Erin Rowland tied for 33rd with a 164, Ryan Bender tied for 45th with a 172 and Morgan Tinsley placed 67th with a 186.

 

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