Fuqua's golf title impressive

October 13, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Thanks to the Danville and Boyle County football teams, state championships have become almost routine here.

However, there's nothing routine about the state title that Danville's Ben Fuqua won Friday in Morehead.

The Danville senior became the first area golfer ever to win a state title when he survived a three-hole playoff to put his name into the state record book along with such notable former champions as Johnny Owens, Gay Brewer, Russ Cochran, Kenny Perry and John Holmes.

Fuqua's accomplishment is easily the most impressive state championship ever for this area. Certainly Boyle and Danville have had some incredible football teams that have won titles. But those were team accomplishments in a class system.

Area track and cross country athletes have won team and individual state championships, but those came in class systems, too, where they were only competing against a certain percentage of teams and/or athletes in the state.


Golf has no class system. That's why a golfer like Fuqua from a Class A school was deadlocked after 36 holes of regulation play with Alex Zega of St. Xavier and Tyler Current of Trinity, players from two Class AAAA schools.

Remember, Fuqua needed an incredible approach shot on a playoff in the regional tournament to beat David Grigson of Lincoln County and claim a spot in the state after shooting a much higher than expected 78 in the tourney. If he had blown that playoff opportunity, he would have been sitting at home last week and not even competing in the state tourney where he had rounds of 72-70.

Pressure, though, has never bothered him. If it did, he probably would not have even been playing golf.

His brother, Nathan, was an all-state football player for Danville and went on to a successful college career at Wofford. Many assumed Ben Fuqua would follow the same path as his brother because Nathan also was a talented golfer who chose football for his priority sport. Ben Fuqua tried football, too, at an early age but wisely decided in middle school that he was going to concentrate on golf.

Even when the Admirals won state championships in football, Ben Fuqua maintained his focus on golf and kept his belief that he could one day win a state championship and earn a college scholarship that certainly should be coming now.

It takes character to win a state golf title. There's no one to help if you make a mistake. One errant tee shot, one missed short putt, one mental miscue or just one unlucky bounce can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Think of all the talented golfers in the state who have tried to win the high school championship and have failed. Steve Flesch has won on the PGA Tour just like Cochran and Perry have and Brewer did when he was still playing. Flesch had a chance to win the Las Vegas Invitational Sunday before settling for sixth place. Yet he does not have a state high school championship like Fuqua does.

Fuqua deserves to be honored with road signs commemorating his accomplishment on major highways leading into Boyle County just as the Danville and Boyle football teams are because the feat he achieved has to rank as the best individual high school sports achievement ever in this area.|10/7/03***

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