Last season's playoff loss has helped Grigson change outlook

August 04, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

STANFORD - On one hand, coming within an eyelash of a trip to the state tournament was undeniably disappointing for David Grigson.

On the other hand, it was also the best thing to happen to him in his high school golf career.

Even in losing in a sudden-death playoff at last year's regional tournament, the Lincoln County golfer said he learned a great deal about what he is capable of.

"It was a great experience," Grigson said. "I think it's really changed my outlook on golf. It really showed me I have a chance, I can compete with the big dogs."

That's valuable information for a player who is expected to lead a rebuilding Lincoln team and who is aiming for new heights in his final high school season.


"I know what it takes this year," Grigson said.

Grigson is ready to get going. The Lincoln boys open their season Monday, while some area high school teams will play their first matches this week. Less than two months from now, Grigson will be back at the regional to try to take the next step.

"You've got two or three matches a week, and it flies by," he said. "Our first match is August 9, and our last one is September 21. That's a pretty quick season.

"And you're having so much fun, with the competition and everything. And last year it was a lot of fun."

Grigson posted a nine-hole average of 38 last year. He first began putting up scores in the 30s as a freshman, but last year was clearly his breakout season.

He was deadlocked with Fuqua

It ended 10 months ago at the 5th Region Tournament in Campbellsville, where he found himself deadlocked after 18 holes with his friend, Ben Fuqua of Danville, for the last available state tournament berth after both of them shot 75.

"I've got to admit, I really didn't think I would finish that high," he said. "I know I can play that good, but it was really my first opportunity to play in a big tournament like that."

One playoff hole later, Fuqua had a ticket to the state tourney and Grigson had a long ride back to Stanford, thinking about the shots that might have made a difference.

"I had a 3-foot putt, I missed a 4-footer downhill," he said. "You can't beat yourself up over 'em.

"The main thing I've learned is that every shot counts."

Grigson said he felt a bit better about losing to Fuqua after Fuqua won the state tournament.

"Losing to the state tournament winner, that says something," Grigson said.

Grigson is looking to make his own statement this year, and he said he'd love to add a regional championship as an exclamation point. He played in several junior tournaments this summer, and he has been a regular student of top teaching pro Bruce Brown at Old Bridge Golf Club.

"I'm really starting to get back to playing pretty good," he said. "I've been working with Bruce quite a bit. I'm really swinging good, hitting the ball really good. And he's helped me a lot with my mental game."

He knows he needs more work to make it in college

Grigson said he knows he'll need even more work to make it in college golf, but he believes he has a future at the next level.

"I've really learned it takes a lot more practice than people realize," he said. "I've practiced a lot more the last couple of weeks than I ever have. Consistency is the big key.

"The future looks pretty good. I'm definitely excited about it."

Grigson said he's also excited about what might lie ahead for his Lincoln team this season, even though the Patriots lost four of last year's top six players and have only seven players on the squad, including three first-year players.

Grigson is joined at the top of the roster by junior Taylor Hafley and Lincoln Nevels, a transfer from Lexington Catholic who turned heads by shooting in the 30s in three of his first five practice rounds.

"We've got a good, strong three players who are going to shoot under 40," Grigson said. "It's a pretty good top three, one of the best top threes we've had in a while. I look for us to win a lot of matches."

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