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South Oldham senior golfer Mack Van Lenten admits that recently, his golf game hasn’t been where he’d like it to be.
The night before the regional tournament at Seneca Golf Course on Monday, he took some advice from a friend. He'd need it if he were to make his way through a region that's been dominated by St. Xavier and other Louisville schools.
“He came up to me the night before and said, ‘Go back to the best round you’ve had this year and go through shot by shot and try to get that feeling again,’” Van Lenten said. “I did that and I got off to a really quick start.”
It's been tough for any Oldham golfers male or female to get past the Louisville powers. St. Xavier has won 16 boys state titles, ahead of Male with seven. On the girls' side, Sacred Heart has won three titles, Ballard three.
In the girls regional tournament at Henry County Country Club Tuesday, Oldham County senior Meghan Theiss got past her Louisville opponents with a 76 that put her in a tie for third. Van Lenten muscled his way through on Monday, shooting a 74 to finish sixth.
Both golfers qualify for the boys and girls state tournaments at Bowling Green Country Club next week. The boys tournament is Oct. 3-5, while the girls tournament is Oct. 6-8.
“My ball-striking was very good. I hit 14 of 18 greens,” Theiss said. “That definitely helps and was probably the highlight of my round. Consistency is definitely the big thing that has gotten me this far. This season, I’ve become consistent not only with my scores but with my swing in general.”
Theiss has consistently improved all season. Her coach, Oldham County girls coach Jennifer Willard said she’s seen how Theiss has reached this point.
“It’s just how she was able to come back off of a bogey and make a birdie,” Willard said. “Overall, she’s just a very good player. She missed a few putts but she didn’t let that get her down or get her frustrated. She came back and rallied from there. Just the whole season, she’s always kept her composure and done great.”
Van Lenten’s coach, South Oldham boys coach Stephen Carter was equally impressed with Van Lenten’s achievement.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of a kid before in my life,” Carter said. “He definitely showed some guts and had the ability to get a birdie when he needed it, especially on the 18th hole.”
For both Theiss and Van Lenten, it’ll be a test to prepare for the notorious fast greens in Bowling Green.
“I’m gonna take care of him at a couple of courses here in town,” Carter said. “The greens are probably the fastest in the county, just to get him out there and get him a feel for how it’s gonna be in Bowling Green. They’re gonna be lightning fast.”
Maybe Van Lenten will just need to replay his region performance this time.