On a pleasantly less than mild day in late August, 20 teams and 111 golfers hit the course for a shotgun start Saturday at Laurel Oaks Golf Course for the Laurel Oaks Invitational. 

Some low numbers were posted, especially from St. Henry who set a school record with a team score of 293 to take home the team title. That bested the field by eight strokes with Montgomery County coming in second place with a score of 301.

Rounding out the top five teams were Grant County in third with a 312, Lewis County in fourth with a 321 and Mason County placing fifth with a 328.

Individually, it was St. Henry's Elliott Berling leading the way with a five-under 67, topping George Rogers Clark's Chase Taylor by one stroke, finishing with a four-under 68.

Fleming County's Jordan Hughes posted a solid one-under 71, putting him in a tie for third individually with Morgan County's Blake Evans. Hughes at one point in his round was four-under par.

"I played pretty good on the back. I made my birdies where I could. I got to four-under and then had three bogeys in a row and then parred out," Hughes said. "I just had to regroup myself."

Sayre's Jack Berstrom rounded out the top five with an even par 72.

Lewis County got a solid round from Cameron Ruckel, who tied for sixth with a one-over 73. Ruckel thanked his driver for his round. 

"I could hit on to the green whenever I wanted, I just couldn't putt today," Ruckel said. "I just kept my head in it to shoot well today."

The round was a season low for Ruckel, who bested a previous score of 78.

Ruckel paced his Lions' teammates as Logan Liles fired an 81, Robby Draper shot an 83, Austin Ruggles with an 84 and Tate Willis coming in with an 89.

Mason County was paced by senior Bryan Walton with a four-over 76, playing in his last home tournament of his high school career. Walton got off to a fast start keying the round, as he was two-under through six holes. 

"I was getting up and down from everywhere, so that kind of helped me out a lot," Walton said. "I was hitting it a lot in the fairways. I kind of blew up on No. 7 and steadied it out from there."  

Walton couldn't find the bottom of the cup the majority of the day on putts outside of 10-feet, but changed that on his final hole with a birdie from about 20-feet out.

"I finally got one to go in. I had a lot of putts hit the lip today so it could have been a lot lower," Walton said. 

Teammate Mason Butler kept strides with Walton all day, closing out with a five-over 77. Those two scores were their lowest of the season.

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"I was really happy for them both. This is Bryan's last home tournament and what a way to end it. He had one of his best rounds of his four years here and played good," Royals coach Chad Mefford said. "Mason was right there with him. He had a par after a four-putt and that means a lot that he can bounce back like that for a youngster."

Following the Royals top two were Kaden Grooms with an 87, Evan Schumacher an 88 and Josh Coleman with a 96.

"It continues to be battle for our number three, four, five and six guys. Our goal today was 330 and feel like we need to shoot for that at Houston Oaks at the regional tourney," Mefford said.

The Royals also placed a "B" team in the event that shot a 364 as a team. Spencer Magee led the way there with a 79. Following him was Zac Ring with a 94, Logan Shepard a 95 and JD Shepard a 96.

"Spencer Magee was our six-man and that was huge for him. These kids know I'm going to let them battle it out and that's going to make us more competitive. It may go all the way down to the practice round two days before the regional tournament," Mefford said.

Following Hughes for Fleming County was Devin Leet with an 89, Logan Hughes a 97, Samuel Johnson with a 105 and Hunter High with a 106. That gave the Panthers a team score of 362, placing them in 15th place.

The pace of play was on time as the tournament was wrapped up in a little over six hours.

"The course was great out there. It takes so many people to put on a nice tournament. Thankful for the parents and Laurel Oaks. Can't say enough about the weather and it was a good day," Mefford said.


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