This year, with a new format, each round of the Hilen Cup is a little more important.
The boys golf competition between the local schools got underway Tuesday at Juniper Hill with Franklin County taking the first round 146-166 over Western Hills.
In previous years the Hilen Cup consisted of three rounds with each player dropping his highest score of the three.
This year the format is two rounds, and scores from both rounds count.
Western Hills’ Chris Hughes and FCHS’ Will Molen and Will Harnice all shot one-over par 36. Molen was named medalist in a scorecard playoff.
“I was pleased, especially with Will Molen who was four over after five holes and played the last four holes three under,” FCHS coach James Myers said.
“He’s a player on our team who’s been struggling the last couple weeks after superb play in the Flyer Classic, but he didn’t put his head down, he didn’t pout, he didn’t quit. He kept working. I’m really proud of Will.”
The teams played the back nine at Juniper Tuesday, and Molen birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 18.
The Flyers’ other scores were Ben Nolan and C.J. Jones each with a 37 and Jacob Cook with a 38.
“The fact my kids are disappointed and we broke 150 shows where we’re at as a program,” Myers said. “All year they’ve talked about setting records and beating the course. They’re not worried about the opponent, and before I think we were worried about the opponent instead of beating the course.
“We won the first round of the HIlen Cup by 20 shots, and we didn’t count Jacob Cook’s score,” Myers said about his No. 1 golfer. “That tells you where this program is at.”
Western Hills ran into trouble with putting on one hole in particular.
“There was some tough putting,” WHHS assistant coach David Mahoney said. “On No. 12 we probably lost 10 strokes as a team.
“Nick (Wilkins) four-putted, and I watched other groups and they had problems there as well. We end up losing by 20 shots, and we probably lost half of them on that hole.”
Chris Hughes and Wilkins, both seniors, are the veterans on the WHHS team.
“They’re all young or very inexperienced,” WHHS coach Karen Hobbs said about her team. “We have three or four first-year players who didn’t come up through junior high or anything.”
Wilkins shot a 40 Tuesday, followed by Will Collins 41, Bradley Hughes 49 and Jake Anderson 50.
“Will Collins played pretty solid,” Mahoney said, “and Chris is right where his average is.
“Nick obviously had a bad day, but I think the wind went out of his sails on 12.”
Franklin County plays Sayre today at the Frankfort Country Club, and FCHS and Western Hills will be competing in the Rowan County Invitational Saturday.
The final round of the Hilen Cup will be Sept. 9.
nThe two teams played a junior varsity match with they Flyers shooting 149. WHHS didn’t have enough players for a team score.
FCHS sophomore Sam Nolan had the best score of the day, varsity or JV, with a two-under par 33.
“I’m so proud of Sam,” Myers said. “He’s such an awesome young man, such a good kid. You could ask any kid on the team or any coach, and they’d tell you he’s one of the three most talented golfers on our team.
“He’s just a sophomore, but fundamentally and mechanically he’s as good as anyone.”
Nolan double-bogeyed his third hole of Tuesday’s round and then went birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle over the next four holes.
“I hope this kick-starts the rest of his season,” Myers said. “He could be a significant contributor to the team not only this year but in the next two years to come.”
FCHS’ other JV scores were Walker Lee 37, Tyler Cleveland 39, John Harnice 40 and Jacob Bruce 43.
Chance Burrell shot 51 to lead WHHS.