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GOLF: Bearcats earn state berth with sudden death win

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Wilson changes game with spectacular birdie in extra frame

By John Herndon

CAMPBELLSVILLE – It probably would not be a good idea to refer to golf as an “individual sport” around Anderson County.

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At least not any time soon, it wouldn't. For the Anderson County boys' team, earning a berth in the Kentucky high school state tournament was as much a result of teamwork as springing the halfback on third-and-long or finding a way to beat the full-court press.

“It was team or nothing,” Anderson coach Jim Beward said after the Bearcats had beaten host Taylor County in a playoff hole to determine the second team to qualify for the state tournament, to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday at Bowling Green Country Club.

On a day when the Bearcats' biggest guns were having a bit of an off round and no Anderson golfer was even remotely close to qualifying for the state as an individual, the Bearcats got the round of his life from Zachary Toles, penciled in as Anderson's No. 5 player on the five-man tournament team.

Toles carded a 79, his lowest score in three rounds on the par-72 course at Campbellsville Country Club this year. Toles paced Anderson to a 322 finish, tying with Taylor for second place, 18 strokes behind defending state champion, West Jessamine.

Danville's Andrew McKinney took individual medalist honors, shooting a 71 and defeating Fred Allen Meyer, last year's individual state champion, also of West Jessamine, in a three-hole playoff.

For much of Monday, things did not look to be going well for the Bearcats. Tyler Harrod and Lee Robinson, considered two of central Kentucky's best, came to the clubhouse at 81 and 80, a bit higher than their average scores. No. 3 Nick Wilson, steady all season, was on his way to an 88.

But Toles and Jordan Morgan kept the Bearcats in it.

In the extra hole at the 517-yard, par 5 first hole, Anderson was in  trouble from the beginning as Robinson's tee shot went out of bounds. “I thought I had lost it for us,” Robinson said.

Anderson, however, was able to regroup when Wilson nailed an approach shot and sank a putt from about 35 feet for a birdie.

“Fortunately, Nick came out of the blue and said, 'Not today' and dropped that birdie putt,” Beward said.

“That was the biggest shot of our year,” Beward said.

The other Anderson golfers, some of whose body language indicated they thought their chances were slim, suddenly perked up. Then when Jordan Morgan sank the final putt, the Bearcats went into full celebration. Anderson last made the state in 1992.

Anderson will play a practice round at the Bowling Green Country Club on Monday, then hit the links on Tuesday for real. If the Bearcats make the cut, they will return for a second 18-hole round on Wednesday.

And they go as a team, as they have talked about all season.

Said Beward, “This means the world that we have five guys that play together as a team.”

 

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