Henry Ladycats third at Anderson County Joy Invitational

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By Tommie Kendall

With the all-important regional championship less than two weeks away, the Henry County girls’ golf team traveled to the Anderson County Joy Invitational on Saturday and brought back to New Castle a third-place trophy out of a 19-team field. It was the last 18-hole outing the Ladycats play before the regional tournament on Sept. 28.

MacKenzie Peyton shot an 81 for 18 holes to lead the way for Henry at the Wild Turkey Chase Golf Course, while Ally Vaughn shot an 89, Emily Hensley a 90, Samantha Woods a 93, MacKenzie Clifford a 106 and Taylor Stanley a 106. The top four golfers are added up for the team standings, which Franklin County won with 331, Taylor County was second with 347 and Henry was third with 353. It was another impressive performance for a squad trying to become the first HCHS team to qualify for state after finishing third at the regional tournament last September — the top-two teams advance.

“Overall, I was happy,” HCHS coach Kathy Peyton said of the Anderson tournament. “I picked us to be in the top three and we were. I knew Franklin would be tough and that Taylor County would be right there with us. We just had never played most of the teams there so didn’t really know what to expect.”

Most of the schools that traveled to Anderson were there to play on the same course one of the regional tournaments will be played on in two weeks. Out of the 19 teams, 16 are from that region. Some of the top teams the Ladycats beat were Lexington Catholic, Ballard, DuPont Manual, Frankfort, Lexington Christian Academy, Madison Central, Woodford and Anderson.

Frankfort’s top three players shot a 77-80-80 as they came away with an easy 16-stroke victory. Meanwhile Taylor County’s top golfer, 12-year-old middle schooler Ellen Kehoe, finished with a 74 to lead all golfers. That was her best score this season and made the six-stroke difference between Henry and Taylor.

As for Henry, Hensley finished with her best score in an official 18-hole high school match to give Henry a boost. Coach Peyton said the sophomore played steady all day on the course with small greens. The other three golfers that made up the team score — Peyton, Vaughn and Woods — played solid, too. Clifford and Stanley played as individuals.

“I look at some spots where I think we could have improved, maybe we were capable of making up four to five strokes that day but we weren’t going to catch Franklin,” Peyton said. “I’m sure all of our players can look back and say ‘what if I would have done this or what if I would have done that.’ But, like I said, I was happy with the way we played.”

After the tournament, Henry added a match against the top team at the tourney, Franklin, scheduled for next Thursday at Juniper Hills Golf Course in Frankfort. Peyton said it will be a good chance to compare her team with a tough team before the postseason.

The Ladycats also played a match against Whitefield Academy at the Henry County Country Club last Tuesday, winning 180-201. Peyton shot a 41 for nine holes, Vaughn a 45, Henlsey a 46, Woods a 48, Stanley a 51 and Clifford a 52.

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