The Dominion Post  

Area golfers improve scores at state tourney

Created on:   Thu, Oct 5, 2017   12:11 AM

Last modified:   Thu, Oct 5, 2017   12:11 AM

The Dominion Post

WHEELING — There was not a cloud in the sky Oct. 3-4, as the Trinity golf team and Preston’s Jacob Livengood competed in the WVSSAC High School Golf Championship, at Speidel Golf Club, at Oglebay Resort.

Though Trinity finished last in Class A and Livengood finished with a score of 184, which was higher than he would have liked, it was a first time experience at the state tournament for all five golfers.

Trinity golfers included Briston Bennett, Caleb Jenkins, Mark Spruill and Blake Wolfe.

The seeding on day one was based on the golfers’ scores from regionals and day two was based off day one’s results.

After shooting higher scores than both Trinity and Livengood would have liked following day one’s 18-hole game, both set out to improve on day two playing another 18 holes.

Trinity head coach Mike Baldy and assistant coach Randy Wolfe wanted each golfer to try and take one stroke off each hole.

Bennett achieved this, shaving 18 strokes off his previous score.

Day one he shot a 118 and a 100 on day two, including a birdie on a par-3.

“He avoided the blowup holes,” Baldy said. “Yesterday, he had a couple 12s. When you think about it, that could be four holes. In two holes yesterday, he had 24 strokes and today he had 24 strokes in five holes. He just plays solid across the board and has a nice low score because of it. He shoots a lot of fives and with nine holes is a 45, which will do the job.”

Mark Spruill fired the lowest score for the Warriors with a 95 after shooting a 103 the day before.

He started day two on hole 16 and as he became more relaxed shot a 43 on the front nine holes.

“That is right on par with what he would shoot at the Pines, our home course,” Baldy said. “He played a great front nine. Then he got to the back nine and was awesome on holes 11, 12 and 13. But on 14, he hit out of bounds and in the water and the stroke penalties hurt him. But he will be back next year.”

Though Spruill said he was not happy with his score, he found one way to look on the bright side.

“It stinks we didn’t shoot well, but there are kids that have been in school the past three days,” Spruill said with a laugh.

“This was a great experience. It was really exciting the way we made it, qualifying by one point, and how we played leading up to (Wednesday). I had a lot of fun.”

Caleb Jenkins shot a 100 on both days, and Blake Wolfe shot a 111 on day one and 121 on day two.

This rounded out the team’s score to 609 out of eight teams. Ravenswood claimed the Class A state championship with a 496 total.

In individual competition, Livengood shaved 10 strokes off his score between the two days, 97 to 87.

PHS head coach Ryan Cool said he could see nerves were playing a part in Livengood’s performance the first day.

“Being his first experience, it took him several holes to calm down,” Cool said. “It’s a different experience playing in a state tournament versus a high school regular-season match. (Oct. 4) he played loose and I could tell he was having fun.

“He was hitting better shots and talking to his group.

“There have been several good golfers come through Preston, but this is the first golfer we’ve sent to states in a while. I was glad to see him put together a good round and qualify.”

Day two, Livengood came out strong, shooting 1-over par on the first six holes, a birdie on hole 10 and a bogey on 11.

“After the bogey, that was it though,” Livengood said. “I sank two in the woods on hole 14. I wish I could take those back. It put my mindset way down. But it happens.

“I am still here and the experience was sweet. Even though I didn’t perform my best, it was great being here.”

The individual Class AAA state champion was Christian McKisic, of Buckhannon-Upshur, who shot a 152.