Nick Johnson and the rest of the Daviess County High School squad fought through a couple of downpours and delays to take the individual and team titles Friday at Ben Hawes, as the opening day of the high school golf season was quite representative of the wild ride 2020 has been so far.
The day started with only a slight chance of rain before afternoon thunderstorms were expected to roll in. Instead, a midday drenching left everyone soaked and the ground saturated. Balls started plugging deep into the ground — at least one so much so it couldn’t be found. Standing water made normal fairway shots and putts more difficult.
Then a second heavy shower rolled through, bringing with it a lightning delay.
Still, Johnson persevered and shot a 1-under 69 to win the Daviess County Invitational Tournament by two strokes. The Panthers shot 307 for an 11-shot victory.
“I putted pretty well,” Johnson said. “I had to adjust to the water pretty quickly. I was able to do that and that’s why I was able to stay where I was. It was a struggle to adjust, but I was able to do it. It feels pretty good. It gives me hope that I can play better in better conditions. I’m excited for the year.”
The rest of the DC scoring came from Grant Broughton (74), Gabe Vincent (81) and Dawson Lamb (83).
After losing a handful of key players to graduation, DC head coach Lars King wasn’t sure what to expect from his 2020 team. He was impressed with their progress in the offseason, and a solid first outing in tough conditions gives him confidence.
“I went from having a really good team to having a really good team,” he said. “Being able to come out here and shoot a 307, rain or no rain, is an impressive score. We won by 11 shots with a complete roster change.”
Jakob Wellman placed second as an individual with a 71, leading Owensboro Catholic to a runner-up finish.
“It was pretty hard to get stuff going,” Wellman said. “I didn’t play the first five or six holes how I needed to in order to win with all this rain going on. Nick played really well. He did what he needed to do to win. I’ll take what I can and learn from it.”
Other scoring for Catholic came from Reece Higdon (76), Griffin Payne (79) and JT Payne (92). They were the only team with three sub-80 scores.
“I was happy with how our team finished today,” said Aces head coach Bretnea Turner. “I know we had some players that weren’t the happiest with their numbers, but a 318 to begin the season is right where we want to be. Playing in the rain, multiple delays, and a flooded course can easily flip a switch in a player’s mental approach to their game. This is part of the consistency we are working on this season.”
Apollo and Owensboro each shot 367 to finish tied for 11th.
The Eagles got scoring from Tanner Klee (87), Nathan Payne (90), Ethan Dych (91) and Trevor Cecil (99).
The Red Devils got scoring from James Rhineburger (82), Will Hume (83), Will Rickard (101) and Cole Crews (101).