The Henry County Lady Cats got the fall sports season under way with two tournaments this week.
On Saturday the Lady Cats traveled to Shelbyville to take part in the Lady Rockets Classic at Weissinger Hills Golf Course.
Senior MacKenzie Peyton led the way for the Lady Cats with a score of 75 which was good fifth place. Eighth- grader Maddie Hensley put in a good showing with an 81 which was good for ninth place. Nikki Perkinson and Bayleigh Boyer rounded out the team scoring with scores of 103 and 127 respectively.
Peyton and Hensley’s top ten finishes earned them a place on the all tournament team. There were over 100 girls in the tournament.
The team score of 386 was good for 10th place in a field of 17 complete teams. Shelby County defended their home turf with a five-stroke victory over Sacred Heart, 334-339.
Henry Clay’s Kie Purdom won individual honors with an even-par score of 72.
When asked about the team’s performance, Coach Willie Peyton said, “It was not very good but that is understandable considering it was the first tournament for a couple of the girls. I’ll blame it on first tournament jitters. Our two young players weren’t used to it.
“We were pleased with Kenzie’s performance,” Peyton continued. “With about five holes to go she was tied for the lead. She had a bogey and a double-bogey on two of the last five holes.”
Peyton also thought Hensley had a good first tournament. “Maddie played well,” he said. The short game is the last to come around for a player and she’ll get better at that as the season goes along.”
MacKenzie Peyton was pleased with her performance on a course that has haunted her over her long high school career.
“I was actually pretty proud of myself because I have never played well at Weissinger,” she said. “It was tough to get in a groove because we had to wait on every single shot.”
Lady Cat Invitational
On Monday the team hosted their annual Lady Cat Invitational at the Henry County Country Club.
MacKenzie Peyton put up red numbers with a 2-under 70 but finished second as Shelby County’s Madison Thomas scorched the course with a 7-under 65 to take top honors.
Hensley again played well enough to earn all-tournament team honors with an 82 that put her in a three-way tie for eighth place.
Peyton played in a threesome that included Thomas, who finished fourth in the state tournament last year, and Maddie Hamilton of Sacred Heart, who finished tied for second with Peyton in the state tournament. The threesome represented three girls who are considered top contenders to take the state title this year.
Nikki Perkinson shot a 109 for the Lady Cats and Bayleigh Boyer improved from Saturday’s performance by 14 strokes with a 113.
The Lady Cats’ team score of 374 was good for fourth place in the team standings just behind Owen County who finished third with 361.
Sacred Heart finished first with a score of 320 while Shelby County was second with a team total of 331.
Sacred Heart and Shelby County are considered contenders for a state title this year. The Rockets also placed Lily Young on the all-tournament team with a 75 that was good for fourth place. Besides Hamilton, Sacred Heart had Meredith Moir and Sarah Rowland on the all-tournament team with top-ten finishes.
Coach Willie Peyton was pleased with how the tournament went.
“We had perfect weather,” he said. “It was a good turnout and we had three of the top five players in the state here. Thomas was on today. She is a very experienced player. She’s played this course a lot and she played very well.
“Kenzie was three-under on the front nine and you couldn’t ask for anything better. She just had a couple of bad holes on the back. She is playing well enough that she is going to have a big day soon.”
Coach Peyton is excited to watch the friendly rivalry between Thomas, Hamilton and Peyton as the season unfolds.
“I expect to see these three competing on the final day at the state tournament,” he said.
As for his young trio of Hensley, Perkinson and Boyer, Peyton said, “The young ones settled down today. Playing at home helped.”
The experienced MacKenzie Peyton couldn’t help but have some nerves despite the fact that she was playing on a course that she knows like the back of her hand.
“I got here and I was feeling it because it was my last tournament here,” she said. “I played pretty well until the 16th hole and I three-putted for a double-bogey.”
Peyton thinks she is getting ready to have a day like Thomas had.
“I’m hitting the ball well but I let a couple of holes get me in both tournaments,” she said. “I’m just waiting on the day when it all comes together.”