Different round, different leader.
Western Hills’ boys golf team had the low score in the second round of the Hilen Cup Tuesday, defeating Franklin County 156-161 at Juniper Hill.
In the first round Aug. 14, the Flyers won 158-165.
“I’m much happier with our play today than I was the first round,” WHHS coach Warren Mitchell said. “Our team score improved by nine strokes, and that’s due primarily to the play of our No. 1 and No. 2 players, Nick Wilkins and Chris Hughes.”
Wilkins was medalist Tuesday with a score of 36, six shots better than his first-round score, and Hughes finished with a 38.
“Chris was playing with a severe head cold,” Mitchell said. “He felt really bad, but he still toughed it out and shot a good score that helped keep us in it.”
The winner of the Hilen Cup won’t be decided until Sept. 11, when the third and final round is played. Both teams and each of the players get to throw out their worst score from the three rounds to determine their final scores.
Franklin County also had two players shoot in the 30s Tuesday – Jacob Cook followed up his first-round 35 with a 37, and Luke Kellerman shot 38.
Rounding out the top five for WHHS were Travis Hammond 40, Blake Simpson 42, and Macaulay Hurst 48.
Hammond and Simpson shot the same scores they did in the first round.
“We’ve been consistent with all five players shooting in the low to mid 40s,” Mitchell said. “I’ve told them they’re not going to beat many teams shooting in the 40s. We have to have someone step up, and our 1 and 2 players did that today.”
FCHS coach James Myers chalked up his team’s play to growing pains.
“You take last Wednesday with today,” he said, referring to the 149 his team shot in a two-stroke win over Sayre at Juniper Hill. “That’s a 12-shot difference in six days.
“I’m proud of them. They’ve kind of exceeded what I thought they were capable of doing at this point, primarily in conference play. I was hoping that success would give us a little extra confidence.”
The Flyers won their division of the Central Kentucky Conference earlier this season. On Tuesday the oldest player in their top five was Kellerman, a sophomore. Cook and John Harnice are freshmen, Will Molen is an eighth-grader, and Will Harnice is in the seventh grade.
On Tuesday Molen shot 41, Will Harnice 45, and John Harnice 46.
“Will Molen was six over after four holes, and that’s where he finished,” Myers said. “He played the last five holes even par, and that was good to see.”
FCHS doesn’t have a match or tournament until the Montgomery County Invitational Sept. 8.
“I put that in the schedule because I thought with a young team they might burn out if you overdo it,” Myers said of the layoff. “I think it’ll be good for them. They can come back fresh, mentally sharp, and we’ll need that when we play Western Hills again. The Western Hills kids played well, and they deserved to win. That’s the best round I’ve seen Nick play.”
Western Hills’ next match is Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Juniper Hill against Woodford County.