MOREHEAD - Lewis County claimed their second Eastern Kentucky Conference boys’ golf team title in three years when the Lions captured Monday’s tournament title by four strokes.
Senior Robby Draper led the victorious Lions, who carded a 156 on the front nine of the par-36, 3,066-yard Eagle Trace Golf Course. East Carter finished with a 160 to claim runner-up honors. West Carter was third with a 168, followed by Morgan County (169), Fleming County (175) and Rowan County (199).
The title was the second for the Lions, which previously won the event in 2015. Lewis County’s victory snapped a string of four different winners in the last four years. East Carter captured last year’s crown.
“We haven’t played very well the last couple of weeks and I felt that we needed to get off to a good start (today),” said Lewis County coach Jim Draper. “We actually struggled. We had two players who actually made a triple on their first hole. But, we got things back right-side-up and they stayed within themselves, played well, kept theirselves in the round, and we just played really solid golf after we got started.”
Draper credited his squad’s club selection and decision-making as key factors in the win.
“We did a really smart job of getting off the tee today. The golf course here can get you in trouble real quick if you don’t play solid off the tee,” he said. “We made some decisions to leave the drivers in the bag and we used some irons and fairway woods and kept ourselves in play. If you do that off the tee here, you can score. The greens are really true. They roll great. It’s about making sure you have a second shot in and stay within the golf course.”
West Carter sophomore Nick James captured medalist honors after he and East Carter sophomore Isaac Walker each finished nine holes with a 36. The match was decided in a playoff on the 360-yard, par-4 18th hole when James hit his second shot within a few feet of the hole and then capped it off with a birdie putt. Walker finished his playoff with a par.
Lewis County's Draper and Logan Liles each finished in a four-way tie for fifth with a 38. Defending champion Jordan Hughes of Fleming County and Lewis County's Austin Ruggles and Cameron Ruckel each tied for 10th with a 40. Fleming County's Devin Leet tied for 16th with a 41, while teammates Samuel Johnson and Logan Hughes tied for 25th with a 47. Lewis County's Tate Willis (24th) and Fleming County's Jarrod Tolle (34th) rounded out each team.
Thirty-five individuals — six teams and six individuals — advanced to the championship round by finishing in the top three in one of last week’s two qualifiers. Lewis County won the East Qualifier by seven strokes at Hidden Cove with a 164, with Lion eighth-grader Logan Liles registering the low individual score with a 39. Morgan County won the West Qualifier, which also took place at Eagle Trace, by four strokes at 169. Morgan County’s Blake Evans was the medallist at 35.