Asked to describe his team’s performance Tuesday during the first round of the state tournament, St. Xavier High School golf coach Dan Utley didn’t hold back.
“Freakin’ awesome,” he said.
The Tigers posted a team score of 10-under-par 278 and hold a 15-shot lead at the midway point of the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Tournament at Bowling Green Country Club.
Franklin County (293) is second, followed by Mason County (296), Owensboro Catholic (300) and Ballard (302).
The second and final round of the tournament will start at 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
Utley’s squad of five seniors entered the tournament as the overwhelming favorite to take the title for the second straight year but may have exceeded expectations Tuesday with its low team score.
St. X shot back-to-back rounds of 293 to take last year’s title on the same course.
“We all sat down as a team and said we’re going to make as many birdies as we can,” Utley said. “We made 24 birdies and an eagle today. You do that, you’re going to play well.”
St. X’s Allen Hamilton led the way, shooting a 7-under 65 after making birdies on the first four holes.
“To birdie the first four holes, there’s no better way to start your senior year at the state tournament,” Utley said. “That really go him rolling. …
“The greens are in the best shape they’ve been in years, and the golf course is soft. It’s definitely out there for guys who are aggressive enough, and he handled the situation and made birdies.”
Hamilton holds a one-shot lead over Franklin County junior C.J. Jones and a three-shot edge over Franklin County senior Jacob Cook in the race for the individual title.
Four players are tied for fourth at 69 – St. X senior Michael Sass, Owensboro Catholic senior John Augenstein, Lyon County sophomore Cullan Brown and Glasgow junior Chase Landrum. Augenstein is the defending champion.
Ballard, in the state tournament for the first time since 2002, was led by sophomore Anuj Chhabra. He’s tied for 22nd after a 73.
Bullitt East shot a 329 and did not make the cut for the second round. The Chargers finished in 20th place among 24 teams.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]