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BOWLING GREEN – It took one practice round and two competitive rounds to do it, but by Wednesday the North Oldham boys golf team had finally accomplished one of coach Larry Dunn’s biggest goals.
The Mustangs “knocked the mystery” off of Bowling Green Country Club.
And now a North team that finished seventh in the 24-team state tournament and returns its top five competitors knows what the challenge is for next season.
“I’m really, really glad we got the boys down here this year, knowing they’re all coming back next year,” Dunn said. “The mystery is taken off of the state tournament for them… They know what it’s about. They know what the challenge is. And most of all, the mystery is gone.”
North battled windy conditions to shoot a cumulative 319 the first day, good enough to make the 12-team cut. The Mustangs came back Oct. 9 to post a 322. Overall North shot 641, putting it 65 shots over par and in seventh place.
West Jessamine (+14, 590) beat St. Xavier (+21, 597) for the title, its second straight. West Jessamine’s Fred Allen Meyer (-8) collected the individual title.
“It was an awesome experience,” said junior Tyler Reller, who posted scores of 78 and 81 to finish 159, +15 for the tournament. “It was a great setup and it was great competition as well. It was a lot of fun.”
Reller was one of four North juniors to play in the tournament last week.
Junior Josh Maier (+11, 155) led the way. Then came juniors Michael Vissing (+13, 157) and Reller. Freshman Mason Lenhart (+26, 170) was fourth and junior Cameron Crosby (+27, 181) rounded out the Top 5.
The week was valuable experience for all five on a course they had little familiarity with before the tournament. Bermuda rough, narrow fairways and tricky pin locations caused high scores throughout the field.
“You don’t get the chance to play at a country club like this a lot,” Maier said. “It was probably one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever played and the biggest tournament I’ve ever played.”
All five players have things to work on over the offseason, Dunn said. Most of the Mustangs work with some of the same instructors and play the same junior tours, so they’ll spend the rest of the fall and next spring playing with each other.
“I know the boys are looking for a break from golf for a little while,” Dunn said. “But I know these boys well enough they’re going to be right back at it. I’m confident I’ll see that improvement again just like I did in the offseason this year.”
North was the only Top 10 team to not have a senior on its roster. While West Jess, St. X, Covington Catholic and other programs will lose key contributors, the Mustangs will bring back a stacked deck of veteran golfers.
Should North advance from a tough region, it’ll be right back in Bowling Green, competing at a BGCC course it now knows.
“That’s something good to look forward to next year,” Maier said. “We achieved a lot of our goals but we’ll carry them to next year.”
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