Grigson and Hafley help Lincoln County golf team exceed expectations

September 22, 2003|JILL ERWIN

STANFORD - The Lincoln County boys golf team is exceeding expectations, even its own.

After graduating six seniors from last year's 25-2 team, the Patriots expected to improve as this year went on and maybe have a winning record.

Instead, Lincoln is 17-1 with its only setback coming against West Jessamine. While junior David Grigson and sophomore Taylor Hafley have consistently shot the lowest scores, that record is more a credit to teamwork.

"I was expecting us to have a winning record," Grigson said. "I thought if three of us could play pretty good, we'd have a decent record. But I'm on pretty much of a high right now. I'm pretty excited."


"We've been lucky, and as always in golf, that has a lot to do with it," Lincoln coach Willie Hoskins said. "We've always seemed to have a couple players shoot in the 30's. We don't have anybody that's going to shoot par every time to bring a high score down, so we need a team effort. We need five guys contributing."

The Patriots have gotten that. Grigson is averaging a 38 per nine-hole round and Hafley a 39, but the next four players on the team - seniors Aaron Anderson, Chris Carter and Craig Noland and junior Gatlin Greer - have taken turns stepping up in matches.

Greer shot a 39 against Boyle County to help the Patriots win that one, and the other three have played well despite not having much competition experience before this season.

"Craig and Chris and Aaron ... we knew they could play but they hadn't ever gone to region so we didn't know how well they'd do," Hafley said. "I figured we'd be probably 10-5 or something like that. Every time a match has been close, somebody's come in at the end and had low enough scoring to give us the win."

Hoskins said he thought the Patriots would be hovering around .500 at this point in the season, and the fact they're not has a lot to do with Grigson and Hafley. Those two are the only returning players from last year's regional team, and have provided the consistency any strong team needs.

"The other kids look up to the kids with more experience," Hoskins said. "They know the routine we're going to go through in matches. Those two are very mature, and they're almost like coaches themselves. They keep everybody pretty straight."

Those two, along with Anderson, have competed on the Baker-Geary-Dunne Junior Tour.

Regional tournament is different

Grigson said experiences like that are what will help the players when the pressure of regional play comes around next week. But he's also trying to explain to the other players that the regional experience is unlike anything they have faced before.

"Last year I just kind of went up there," Grigson said. "I didn't really think I had much of a chance to do anything. I was nervous on the first tee, but I was nervous in the junior tour and I got used to that. I'm going to talk to them, let them know that they are going to be nervous on the first tee, but they just need to play their game."

There's some pressure involved in the regular season as well, as Lincoln has never had a losing record in Hoskins' 19 years coaching the team.

"I think about it a lot really," Grigson said. "Last year we had a winning record, and if we came in this year with a losing record, we'd kind of feel bad. It makes you want to play better.

"(Hoskins) makes it fun. He encourages us and he helps us out. If you just ask Coach for help, he'll give it to you. I think he's done a pretty good job."

Hoskins said working with the players is his favorite part of the job.

"These kids have been fabulous to coach and you just feel good being around them," Hoskins said. "It's just easy to come out here when you have good kids you can trust and you don't have to worry about the horseplay."

The regional tournament is Sept. 30, and both Grigson and Hafley have expectations for the Patriots.

"I'd like to see us place in the top five in the region," Grigson said. "I think it would be good for our team and our school."

"We've had some pretty low scores this year, and if we can put two of them together, you never know," Hafley said. "It's everybody's dream to get to go to the state. I'm just pleased that we've done as well as we have, and if we get to go to state that would be unreal."

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