St. Stephens wins 2018 Catawba County Golf Championship

Michael Christopher
Sports Editor

Thursday's temperature was 68 degrees with wind speeds averaging nine miles per hour that included a max gust speed of 32 miles per hour. Not ideal golf conditions, but the St. Stephens High School boys golf team made playing nine holes for the Catawba County Championship at Rock Barn look relatively easy.

The Indians took home the title shooting a team low of 154, besting Hickory High by two shots.
"It seems like every match we've had this year has been in these kinds of conditions so I feel like we've had some experience this year. It's been windy every single time so the last couple of matches I think we're finally getting used to it and started to play decent under these conditions," St. Stephens head golf coach Adam Bennett said. "Started playing better, so it's just we've got to get some practice and experience under these conditions. Usually, I wouldn't expect low scores like we had, but I guess we're just starting to get used to it."

Trent Mclauchlin led Saint with a low of 35 to finish runner-up. Teammates Caden Powell carded a 39 to tie for third while Bryce Hull and Nolan Medley each shot a 40. All four players earned a spot on the all-county team.
"It was tough out there. Having to play a couple of clubs up or a couple clubs back, it was tough," said Mclauchlin, who carded four birdies said. "I had confidence in my team. I'm just glad that we won. It was a little scary but we won."

The victory was the third in its last three matches for the Indians. It also snapped a four-year streak for Newton-Conover winning the county championship. But the county match was not played last year because of inclement weather.
"I think we're getting more consistent. Early on we were just trying to find our way," the Indians coach said. "Mentally I think we're getting stronger and understand the layout of courses and how to play certain shots, especially with the wind. I think we're getting mentally stronger if anything."

The Red Tornadoes came in second with a 156, as Eli Wyatt earned match medalist, carding a low of 34. Teammate Colin Healy also earned all-county honors after carding a 40.
"I played it my freshman year and missed all-county team by one so I'm happy to come back and get my revenge," Wyatt said.

The Hickory junior, who carded three birdies and a bogey, said he held back his aggressiveness and played within myself.
"You've just got to take the conditions for what they are," he said. "Everybody plays the same conditions. You've got to do your best, keep yourself in control and not make big numbers."

University Christian Hickory School took third (166), followed by Newton-Conover (185), Maiden (188), Hickory Christian Academy (198), Foard (206) and (Tri-City (208). Bunker Hill and Bandys High were each invited but did not attend the event.

Jordan Sain led Foard with a 42 while Ben Busic carded a 45 to lead Fred T. Foard.

Kenan Lawing led Maiden with a low of 42. Dylan Richardson, playing for the first time this season and filling in for Matthew Yang, shot a 50.

Paul Karre shot a 41 to lead Newton-Conover and earn a spot on the all-county team.

UCHS's had three players make all-county. Collin Carlton shot a 39 while teammates Connor and Collin Matthews each carded a 41. HCA's Sam Robinson shot a 40 to earn all-county honors.