Boyle County, Fuqua qualify for state again

October 01, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

CAMPBELLSVILLE - When Ben Fuqua walked off the 18th green Tuesday, he had no reason to believe he would get one more shot at the state tournament.

But he did get one more shot, and it was easily his best shot of the season.

More than an hour after finishing his round with a score that he didn't think would qualify for state, the Danville senior landed an approach shot six inches from the cup on the first hole of a playoff to win the final qualifying berth at the 5th Region Tournament.

"I didn't want my season to be over," Fuqua said. "I just wanted another shot to redeem myself."

While Fuqua was fretting over whether he'd get that shot, the Boyle County boys were already celebrating. They had learned they had finished second in the team standings to earn their second straight state tournament berth.

Boyle finished just two strokes behind team champion Taylor County and one stroke ahead of West Jessamine in the race for the top two spots at Campbellsville Country Club. The first- and second-place teams and the best three individuals not on those teams earn state berths.


"We wanted to outdo last year's team," Boyle senior Josh Chester said. "We knew it'd be tight with three or four holes to play, but we finished like we should've and got in."

"They're a gritty group. They have the ability when things go bad to come back," Boyle coach David Morris said.

The five Boyle boys and Fuqua will represent this area at the state tournament Oct. 9-10 at Eagle Trace Golf Course in Morehead.

Fuqua said he was pretty sure he wouldn't be making that trip when he turned in a 78, which would leave him five shots behind medalist Kalen Boone of Washington County.

"I thought I was going to go home," he said.

David Grigson of Lincoln County thought he was going home, too, after shooting the same score in the same group as Fuqua. But the two friends found themselves headed back to the 10th tee for a sudden-death playoff.

It didn't last long. Both hit their drives into the left rough, with Fuqua closest to the hole at about 115 yards out. After Grigson hit his second shot to the back right of the green, Fuqua decided to take a shot at the flag on the left side.

"I was going to go for the fat part of the green, but since he missed I decided to try to end it as soon as I could," Fuqua said.

Both players knew it was over when Fuqua's wedge shot landed half a foot from the hole.

"I've never been on his side of it, but I know that's got to be a shot in the gut right there," Fuqua said.

"I'm not glad he hit it, but I'd rather lose after he made a good shot like that," said Grigson.

Fuqua has had success in playoffs

Fuqua is 5-0 in playoffs in various tournaments since July.

"I was real confident going into the playoff," he said.

Grigson said he was disappointed but also happy that he was able to get into a sudden-death situation.

"I was excited to get that close," the Lincoln junior said. "I was really pleased to have the chance."

Fuqua, who won a regional title two years ago on the Campbellsville course, had to sweat it out for the second year in a row to see if his score would hold up.

He earned the final qualifying spot last year at Nicholasville despite playing his last two holes at 3 over par, and this year a mistake on one of the closing holes put him in the same position.

Fuqua took a triple bogey on the par-3 16th hole when he landed his tee shot at the edge of a water hazard and tried to hit out of it. He needed two shots to get out, then three putts to finish the hole.

"I wish I'd had a caddy, because he would've told me to take the drop," he said.

Boyle's top four players shot between 79 and 83, and the biggest of those scores was surely the 81 turned in sophomore Matthew Horn, who was entered as the team's No. 5 player and had averaged 86 to 88 in tournaments this season.

"The seniors we knew would be there," Morris said. "(Horn) came up big at the biggest time of the year. If he doesn't come out and have a round like that, we're not going."

Jones led the team's three seniors with a 79, while Chester and Dusty Pollard each shot 83.

Jones was in contention for an individual qualifying spot had Boyle's team not finished second, but he said he wasn't thinking about that.

"I was still thinking team all day," he said. "I knew I had a chance to go as an individual, but it wouldn't be the same without everybody there.

"Now we want to go back (to state) and try to improve on last year's performance."

Boyle was 10th in the team standings at last year's state tourney, while Fuqua finished in a tie for 29th individually.

Casey County sophomore Kyle Hundley shot 79 and was the only other area player to break 80.


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