September 30th, 2014

St. X nabs regional title with record-low score

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

St. X nabs regional title with record-low score
Trinity, posing with the runner-up trophy, earned its first trip to the state tournament since 2007 / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier broke a scoring record at Tuesday’s Sixth Region Tournament at Nevel Meade Golf Course and Trinity also qualified for the Leachman Buick GMC Cadillac/KHSAA State Tournament in Bowling Green.

Three Tigers shot 3 under par or better as their team shot a record-low 276 to finish 18 strokes ahead of second-place Trinity.

St. X has now made the state tournament 23 of the past 24 years. This will be the Shamrocks’ first trip to State since 2007.

“What these guys have done so well is they continue to get better,” St. X head coach Dan Utley said. “We just wanted to get today out of our way. That was our goal. We wanted to go play our game, trust ourselves and have fun with it.”

St. X’s Allen Hamilton was the individual winner with a 6-under-par 66. The junior shot a 32 on the front nine and a 34 on the back nine.

“I was nervous coming in because I was nervous for the team,” Hamilton said. “It’s all about the team for me. I know if I don’t do well that we have other good players that can do well. That takes a bit of the pressure off.”

Obviously, Hamilton overcame the nervousness.

“My putting really kept my round together,” he said. “I think I made three or four putts outside of 16 feet.”

Teammate Matt Liston shot a 68 to place second. Like Hamilton, Liston was playing in his first regional tournament.

“I made sure that I stayed really calm,” Liston said. “I kept myself in good position the whole time. I never really put myself in a spot where I would get a bad score.”

Michael Sass, who won the regional tournament two years ago as a freshman, placed third with a 69.

“I played smart today,” Sass said. “I hit a lot of greens even though I didn’t make a lot of putts. I just tried to get the ball close to the hole.”

St. X juniors Drew Kielh and Billy Basham each carded a 73. Basham would have had a 76 if he hadn’t birdied No. 17 and eagled No. 18.

“Billy has such a great attitude,” Utley said. “He never quits. It doesn’t matter whether he’s over or under par. He’s always trying to get a great shot. He wanted to finish strong and he did that.”

Last year Trinity narrowly missed making it to the state tournament, losing by one stroke to North Oldham. This year the Shamrocks placed second with a 294 score, four strokes better than third-place North Oldham and eight ahead of fourth-place Ballard.

“We were struggling early on,” Trinity head coach Mike Brumfield said. “But James (Inman), Zach (Mattingly) and Jake (Mattingly) said, ‘We’re making it today; we are not losing; we are not going to not make State.’ So they took it upon themselves to do well. I’m happy for them.”

Just two years ago the Rocks came in seventh at the regional. But in his second season, Brumfield has turned around a program that hasn’t won a state title since 2003.

“It’s called hard work, it’s called a different attitude,” Brumfield said. “I brought a different mentality. I told them we were going to succeed. St. X played better, they did, but all we wanted to do was to get out of this region and qualify for State. This is a true testament. My four seniors and the rest of the team worked so hard during the offseason. That’s why we made State. That was the turnaround.”

Inman led Trinity with a 71 and tied for sixth. The senior played in the state tournament as an individual last year.

“But it means everything to make it with my team,” Inman said. “It’s our last year for four of us and I think we have a shot.”

Zach Mattingly shot a 72 and his twin, Jake, shot a 74.

“Coach Brumfield is all about the team element,” Jake said. “He likes to keep us together and likes us to cheer each other on and support each other.”

Ryan Murr finished with a 77 to round out the Rocks’ scoring. Grant Hummel’s 79 didn’t count toward the team score.

Both St. Xavier and Trinity will play in the state tournament at Bowling Green Country Club Oct. 10-11.


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