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Boys golf: Mustangs run table Thursday, win third straight Oldham Cup

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By Brad Stephens

PROSPECT – North Oldham had a steep task in topping its 2013 Oldham Cup performance when it hit the course to defend the title last week.

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One year ago the Mustangs won the three-day, three-team title against Oldham County and South Oldham by scoring seven-and-a-half points out of a possible eight on the final day, a competition record.

North beat its own feat on Sept. 18 at Nevel Meade Golf Course, winning all eight of its matches to secure the Cup for the seventh time. North totaled 14 points overall, with OC claiming eight and South two.

That victory was the Mustangs’ third straight and put them atop the all-time Oldham Cup victory list. OC has six titles and South has two in the history of the event, which concluded last week for the 15th time.

“Three years in a row, couldn’t have asked for a better day, won every match and I’m pretty proud of the team,” North senior co-captain Michael Vissing said. “… we expected to win at least six (matches), I’d say. Eight’s pretty good.”

North went into the final day with a slim lead over OC, six points to five, after play Sept. 18 at Oldham County Country Club and Sept. 19 at Harmony Landing.

South had one point entering play Sept. 20, meaning it could only play spoiler.

Mustang senior co-captain Josh Maier said there wasn’t any doubt going into the final day as to how his team would perform.

“We knew that OC would keep it close but… we had a game plan,” Maier said. “We knew if we put our top eight against their top eight… we’d win.”

North’s underclassmen in the first groups set the tone at Nevel Meade.

Jameson Kercell and Zach Whiteman, the first two Mustangs to go off, finished their matches early with decisive 5 and 4 wins.

Those big victories took some pressure off the other North golfers, most of whom were just beginning their matches, coach Larry Dunn said.

“Certainly that was comforting to me to see very early on that we already had two points on the board because that just builds and builds,” Dunn said. “…It just changes the mindset, let’s them start swinging the club easier.”

North golfers Crosby Cameron and Scotty Lewis each got tight, 1 up wins.

Vissing took down the Colonels’ Greyson Willard, 4 and 3, for North’s fifth win. Mustang senior Tyler Reller beat the Dragons’ Cooper Gary for win No. 6, 3 and 1.

The seventh win came as North’s Mason Lenhart beat South’s Jarrett Hill, 4 and 3.

That left only Maier still needing to win his match in order to clinch a perfect day for the Mustangs.

He fell behind early to OC’s Grant Larimore, trailing by two holes after play at the third.

Maier battled back over the next two holes, winning the par-4 fourth and par-3 fifth to tie Larimore.

“I just… concentrated on every putt and started making putts,” Maier said. “That’s all I could do. I was hitting the ball well and then I started putting better.”

Maier won the seventh and eighth holes, taking a come-from-behind victory that gave North a clean sweep for the day.

“Josh has given me every hole that’s on the card all year long,” Dunn said. “He’s committed.

“He’s a real good leader on the team and he sets the examples for the other players and I’m proud of him because he fought back… It was a great job and it shows why he’s a captain on the team.”

Marco Valenzuela, Stuart Jones and Matthew Crombie all got match wins for coach Allen Davis’ OC squad on the final day.

“The first two days we played really well,” Davis said. “We were down one going in, which is always our goal is to be in contention going into the third day.

“I felt good about today. To be honest the kids played really well – we just ran into a buzz saw.”

The Dragons’ Jarrett Hill outlasted the Colonels’ Michael Brown 1 up in a back-and-forth match that gave South its second point of the Oldham Cup.

All three teams will be back at Nevel Meade Tuesday for regional play, with the top two teams advancing to the state tournament next month in Bowling Green.

Maier said he and his teammates will play Nevel Meade “as much as we can” over the coming days to get ready for regionals.

North was region runner-up last season to St. Xavier and will likely compete Tuesday with Trinity for the opportunity to represent the area at state alongside St. X, which is the region favorite.

No matter what his team does in region play, it’ll have the memory of going 8-0 to clinch a county title, Dunn said.

“Kudos to the boys for just an outstanding gamesmanship in terms of showing up and having the game to get it done when it was most important here on Day 3,” Dunn said. “… It’ll give them a lifelong memory. I’m really happy for them.”