He is new to both his team and his school, having moved from Frankfort to Danville after his eighth-grade year. He is the No. 5 golfer on a rebuilding Danville team that sent two freshmen and three sophomores to the first tee Monday.
Because of his sudden success, he is now endowed with the title of "one to watch."
"If he continues to work hard in practice, anything can happen," Danville coach Craig Pippen said. "As a freshman, to shoot 75 in the region, he's definitely got a future."
Harrod's mother, Michelle Metts, had urged him to join the golf team after the family moved to Danville, even calling Pippen to find out how he could do it. She wasn't at Lakewood on Monday to see her son, but she was never far from his thoughts.
"She's been having heart trouble, and she was on my mind," Harrod said. "I wanted to do good for her."
Pippen said he first realized just how good Harrod was doing when he saw on the scoreboard that Harrod had made the turn in even-par 35.
"I thought I'd better cruise up his way and watch him play a little more," Pippen said.
What the Danville coach saw was a steady round of mostly pars, none more dramatic than the last. Harrod shanked - his word - his tee shot on his final hole, the par-3 ninth, far to the right of the green. His second shot left him "30 or 40 yards" from the flag, but he holed out his chip shot to finish with a flair.
Harrod said his previous best round was a 78 at Old Bridge, and Pippen said Harrod has come a long way in the two months he has seen him play.
"The improvement the past two months has been unbelievable," Pippen said. "Eric works extremely hard, he's passionate about the game. He spends hours working on his game, and today it paid off."
Dedman, Souder help Mercer finish fifth
Harrod wasn't the only young golfer making a splash Monday. Eighth-grader Ward Dedman and seventh-grader Nicholas Souder shot 78 and 80, respectively, to help Mercer County earn a fifth-place finish, the best result among the seven area teams.
"As long as I've been associated with Mercer County golf as a player and a coach, I don't know that Mercer County's ever finished any higher," Mercer coach Jay Anderson said.
The Scotties were a well-traveled team this season with a schedule that included tournaments at places like Dawson Springs and Meade County.
"We played a lot of tournaments this season in hopes of preparing us for today, and I felt like it did make us better prepared," Anderson said. "We wanted to make some people notice that we're here and we're for real."
Like Harrod, junior Will Davis provided a thrilling finish for Mercer. On the par-4 18th hole, the Scotties' No. 1 player bounced his tee shot just past the green, then chipped in for eagle.
There were no thrills for Lincoln County and Casey County, which were seeded among the top eight teams in the 21-team field but finished eighth and 14th, respectively.
It was a difficult day for Lincoln senior David Grigson, who lost out on a state tourney berth in a playoff last year. This time, he fell out of contention midway through his second nine with a three-putt on the fifth hole and a double-bogey on the par-4 sixth, and he finished at 79.
"I think it took the steam out of him," Lincoln coach Willie Hoskins said. "I'm disappointed for David. I know he can play with anybody in here.
"But that's what golf is. It comes down to one day."
1. Taylor County (TC) 303. 2. Russell County (RC) 306. 3. West Jessamine 315. 4. LaRue County (LC) 317. 5. Mercer County 330. 6. Nelson County 331. 7. Green County (GC) 332. 8. Lincoln County 333. 9. Anderson County (AC) 334. 10. Washington County (WC) 338. 11. Bethlehem 340. 12. Danville (D) 348. 13. Garrard County 351. 14. Casey County 353. 15. Adair County 354. 16. Bardstown 355. 17. East Jessamine 356. 18. Boyle County 358. 19. Campbellsville 377. 20. Marion County 380. 21. Burgin 504.
STATE QUALIFYING TEAMS
Taylor County (303) - Drew Hayes 67, Jon Lawson 76, Todd Polston 79, Matthew Hazel 81, Andrew Baise 83.
Russell County (306) - Trey Wilkerson 72, Dustin Gosser 74, Nick Bertram 77, Trevor Barnes 83, Tyler Miller 85.
Mercer County (330) - Ward Dedman 78, Nicholas Souder 80, Will Davis 83, Andrew Yeast 89, Mason Ward 92.
Lincoln County (333) - David Grigson 79, Taylor Hafley 82, David Harrison 85, Lincoln Nevels 87, Jordan Hogue 96.
Danville (348) - Eric Harrod 75, Matthew Bibb 79, Ben Hastie 94, Patrick Yankey 100, Kip Mountjoy 119.
Garrard County (351) - Zack Estridge 83, Michael Himes 85, Matt Hume 90, Coty Cantrell 93, Chrislee Toler 95.
Casey County (353) - Kyle Hundley 87, Jake Brewer 87, Kyle Terry 88, Corey Dial 91, Derek Murphy 96.
Boyle County (358) - Clay Carter 84, Matthew Horn 88, Isaac Waters 89, Jeremy Hardin 97, Nathan Smith 101.
Burgin (504) - Ben Miller 94, Shane Trayner 104, Rob Clark 144, Harrison Perkins 162, Steven McConaha DNS.
Harrodsburg (NTS) - Hunter Burton 85, Brandon Lay 91.