Owensboro Catholic’s Jakob Wellman felt a little tight when he walked onto the course Monday at Windridge Country Club, so he decided to change his game for the two-day event.
On the first hole where a drive or a 3-wood would have been beneficial, Wellman grabbed an iron instead. The decision proved valuable as the Ace shot a 70 to win the annual tournament by two shots over Daviess County’s Grant Broughton.
“It feels good to get the win,” Wellman said. “I was pretty disciplined. I didn’t hit any drivers or 3-woods all week, I just hit irons off all tees. I felt good that I could rely on other parts of my game that weren’t necessarily my ‘strengths’ but it definitely felt good to be disciplined enough and trust my game and get it done.”
Wellman, along with solid rounds from a few other teammates, helped led Catholic to its first City-County title in three years. But, the Aces needed a better nine holes Tuesday as they went into the second day down seven shots to Daviess County.
“We talked yesterday after the round,” OC coach Bretnea Turner said. “We knew that several of our players just all around did not have a good day. A lot of frustration with swings and missed some shorter putts, just out of their element.”
Turner said she knew playing the front side on Tuesday could be beneficial for her team.
“It eliminated a lot of the pressure even though they were down,” she said. “Being down seven strokes is a decent amount. Daviess County had a great day yesterday and it was just keeping the mindset of we’re going to hit some fairways, we’re going to hit some greens. Put ourself in a position for par. We don’t need a ton of birdies. We don’t need any hero shots. I tell them that all the time. Your job is to not go be a hero on the golf course. Your job is to hit boring shots in the fairway, boring shots on the green and make your boring two-putt and move on.”
Wellman said it’s good to have teammates that can rally.
“I just feel like we have a group of tough kids and they’re not going to give up,” he said. “As a team, once you see your guy trying, you’re like ‘I’ve got to do that.’ I feel like that just cycles down through the whole team. I feel like that’s really important and it’s what we’ve got and we’re going to rock with it for the rest of the year.”
J.T. Payne finished third on the Aces as he carded an 81 but during the final round, Payne had a moment he would never forget.
Payne earned his first eagle on the par-4 8th after his drive went to the left. As he stood 156 yards out, Payne grabbed a 7-iron and used a bounce in his favor for the two.
“I jumped,” he said. “I was pumped.”
The shot not only helped that hole but the following holes as well.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “Especially for the next three holes I had. I just felt like I was going to hit every shot good and I did.”
Payne said grabbing the team win is big for the team with the region tournament only a couple of weeks away.
“It feels good because we haven’t had a win in a while,” he said. “The only win this year was at Hopkinsville. That’s our region course so that was a good win.”
Fellow Ace Reece Higdon finished with a 78.
While Broughton led the Panthers, they still delivered low scores as Gabe Vincent (80), Braden Whistle (83) and Dawson Lamb (83) had solid rounds.
Owensboro was led by James Rhineburger and his 85, while Apollo was led by Tanner Klee’s 85. Trinity’s Landon Huff led the Raiders with a 90.
1. Owensboro Catholic (312)
Jakob Wellman 70 (1st)
Reece Higdon 78
J.T. Payne 81
Griffin Payne 83
2. Daviess County (320)
Grant Broughton 74 (2nd)
Gabe Vincent 80
Braden Whistle 83
Dawson Lamb 83
T3. Apollo (368)
Tanner Klee 85
Ethan Dych 91
Nathan Payne 96
Trevor Cecil 96
T3. Owensboro (368)
James Rhineburger 80
Will Rickard 85
Will Hume 88
Lanson Block 115
5. Trinity (497)
Landon Huff 90
Nate Hernandez 127
Aaron Wright 133
Declan Williams 147