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His drives were slightly off, his mid-range game was a bit askew and his putts weren’t all going in through 17 holes.
But in the first round of the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA state golf tournament at the Bowling Green Country Club Tuesday, South Oldham senior Mack Van Lenten was in the hunt to at least be able to play on the final day of the tournament. Until the last hole, that is.
Van Lenten’s trouble on the ninth hole, his 18th and final hole after beginning on the back nine, left him with a nine-over-par 81. It also left him just short of the 80 cut.
“I had three bad holes that really killed my round,” Van Lenten said. “Other than that, one shot made the difference and I would’ve played today. It’s tough because I beat 90 or a hundred kids that were playing on day two because they were on teams that qualified.”
Coach Stephen Carter said Van Lenten still showed a few flashes of what got him to the state tournament. On the 18th hole, Van Lenten hit a mid-range shot from 190 yards out through three trees that landed just short of the green.
“I just stood there with my jaw open, thinking to myself, ‘oh my gosh, that was one of the best shots I’ve seen in my life,’” Carter said. “He put it to about 10 feet, missed his birdie putt and that took some momentum away from him. I know he’s upset about it, but it is what it is and you learn.”
Van Lenten said he was disappointed in missing the cut in his final state tournament. But he was also proud of himself for getting through a few tough situations on the course.
“It could’ve been a lot better and it could’ve been a lot worse at the same time,” Van Lenten said. “I think I managed my game pretty well for not hitting the ball that great. I just really didn’t knock anything close to the hole and that hurt.”
St. Xavier junior Stephen Stallings won the tournament today with a two-day total of 146, while Lexington Christian won the team portion of the state tournament with a two-day score of 614.
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