Donoho senior Harrison Hughston dominated the course at Pine Hill Country Club on Saturday and the White Plains boys team dominated the field on the final day of play in this year’s Calhoun County high school golf tournament.
Hughston shot a 65, the lowest competitive round of his life, and overcame a four-stroke deficit after Friday’s opening round. Teammate and classmate Jacob LeCroy’s 67 led the first round. Hughston said Friday he felt he would have to play “super-low” to have a chance to repeat his 2018 county tournament championship at Cider Ridge. His 65 on the par-72 Pine Hill course certainly met the “super-low” criteria.
“Over the past two months my game hasn’t grown a ton but what has grown is my attitude, how I look at things, how I react to things,” Hughston said. “When something bad happens, I just keep calm, move to the next shot.”
That maturity showed as Hughston finished on No. 18, a par 5. His first shot left him about 215 yards short of the green, a 5-iron away. In the 2017 county tournament at Pine Hill he hit a 5-iron from about the same distance into the bunker on the right and the result wasn’t a happy one. This time his shot stayed left then kicked left even more, almost landing on the No. 9 green.
“I didn’t throw my club. I didn’t get mad,” Hughston said later. He turned his focus to the next shot.
With a bunker and a tree with low limbs between him and the green on No. 18, he had no clean shot. He knew a par would give him a round of 66 and decided to play safe. He punched his third shot to the right of the green about 25 yards from the pin then pulled out his 55-degree wedge and tried to bump-and-run near the hole.
“It hit the pin and went in. I don’t know how that happened but it did,” Hughston said.
Instead of a 66, he was rewarded with a 65 for keeping his composure.
“I really didn’t know what Jacob was doing. I was just trying to play my best, give it all I’ve got,” Hughston said. “Until I walked off the green I didn’t know that I had won it.”
LeCroy, playing in the group behind Hughston, had struggled at times with his putting Friday. He hadn’t expected that could get worse Saturday but it did. He said too many three-putt greens led to his second-day 73. LeCroy played the front nine in par 36 and the back nine with a one-over 37.
He and Wesley Jenkins of White Plains each finished at 140, tied for second. It took five playoff holes to settle second and third. After each birdied No. 18 twice then made par on No. 1 and No. 2, LeCroy missed a putt for par on No. 3 and Jenkins made his.
White Plains dominated the team competition with a two-day team total of 582. Donoho was a distant second at 648. Oxford finished third at 693 and Alexandria was fourth at 695. The Wildcats appear ready to begin another string of championships like the one they put together in 2015, 2016 and 2017 before Donoho won last year. Of the 15 players earning all-tournament recognition for the 15 lowest scores, nine competed for White Plains. The Wildcats have one senior and one junior.
White Plains coach Chris Randall said even his players who aren’t in the team’s top five get lots of experience in quality tournaments.
“We don’t have a guy like LeCroy or Harrison that’s going to shoot 65. We can go 68, 69, 70 but every round of every tournament since the opening day we’ve put down four rounds in the 70s. When you do that it’s hard to beat … and the scores have continued to go down,” Randall said.
Andrew Miller, who shot 72 and 78 to finish fifth individually at 150, is the Wildcats’ lone junior.
“At practice we’re kind of competitive but it’s on a different level,” Miller said. “We take everything more seriously. We’re all there for each other if we don’t play good. If we’re playing our best everybody’s there to hype them up. It’s just a good experience for everybody.”