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Rockets, Thomas open season with strong start

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Personal best 65 earns Shelby senior medalist honors at Henry County

By Josh Cook

It was a solid start to the season, to say the least, for the Shelby County girls’ golf team.
First the Rockets won their annual Lady Rockets Classic on Saturday, defeating three-time defending state champion Sacred Heart in the process, then they finished second – led by senior standout Madison Thomas’ sizzling 65 – in Henry County’s Lady Cat Invitational on Monday.
Lady Rockets Classic
Shelby County, which finished fourth at state last year, carded a collective 334 to beat Sacred Heart and 16 other teams at Weissinger Hills Golf Course.
“I’m very proud of them, they did very well,” new Rockets Coach Melissa Young said.
The Valkyries, who played without No. 1 player Maddie Hamilton, were second with a 339, while Boyle County (342), Scott County (347) and Henry Clay (356), which finished third at state last year, rounded out the top five.  
“It gives us an idea of where we stand and where we are,” Young said of her team’s finish. “This was a good opportunity to collect some baseline data.”
Thomas led the way for the Rockets, firing a 2-over-par 74 - two shots behind medalist Kie Purdom of Henry Clay and one shot behind Owensboro Catholic senior Olivia Cason and Henry Clay junior Leslie Ginter.
Thomas, who shot a 69 to win medalist honors in this event two years ago, carded 36-38 on her home course.
“It wasn’t that I hit the ball bad, I just had a lot of bad luck,” said the University of Memphis recruit, who finished fourth individually at state last year. “I had six birdie putts within six feet, and all six of them lipped out. Nothing would fall in, nothing.
“I know I didn’t play bad, but it’s still frustrating.”
Also for Shelby County, sophomore Lilly Young tied for ninth with an 81. The coach’s daughter was 2-over on the front nine, but had penalty strokes on Nos. 10 and 18 after hitting into the water on both holes.
Fellow sophomores Jennifer Fuqua and Jenna Lewis rounded out the Rockets’ team score with an 87 and a 92, respectively.
Junior Claire Watts carded an 88 to lead Collins, which finished 14th. The Titans played without their regular No. 1, senior Mary Borders, who was on vacation.
Lady Cat Invitational
Led by Thomas’ medalist performance, and Young’s fourth-place finish, Shelby County bettered its score from Saturday by three shots but Sacred Heart’s A team, this time with Hamilton, carded a 320 to top the Rockets by 11 strokes at Henry County Country Club in New Castle. The Valkyries’ top four scores ranged between 74 and 84.
The day, though, belonged to Thomas, who carded 33-32. She birdied Nos. 1, 2, 6 and 9 through 12 before a bogey on No. 17. Thomas bounced back, though, with a birdie on 18 to close out her personal-best round.
“It was really just solid all the way through,” she said. “It wasn’t any one thing that saved me all day, it was just solid all the way around.”
Her putting was on point. Thomas finished with only 25 putts, including a mere 10 on the back nine.
“Madison had a phenomenal round,” Young said. “We just stayed away. We heard she was having a good day [and didn’t want to jinx it]. A couple of holes I watched her behind the trees.”
“It helped that I was playing with two of my best friends,” Thomas said of Henry County’s MacKenzie Peyton, who was second with a 70, and Hamilton, who finished third with a 74.
Young wasn’t far behind with her 75, a round that included a chip-in birdie on No. 2.
“I think the best part was I got my drives straight and I was able to keep it in the fairway,” she said.
Borders, meanwhile, finished in seventh with an 81, a round that included four birdies.
“I only had one real bad mess-up, a triple-bogey,” she said.
Watts wasn’t far behind with an 85 for the Titans, who finished seventh. 

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Lady Rockets Classic
Saturday at Weissinger Hills Golf Course

Team scores - 1. Shelby County 334; 2. Sacred Heart 339; 3. Boyle County 342; 4. Scott County 347; 5. Henry Clay 356; 6. Notre Dame 361; 7. Owensboro Catholic 363; 8. Owen Count 380; 9. Christian Academy of Louisville 384; 10. Henry County 386; 11. Rowan County 402; 12. Central Hardin 404; 13. Anderson County 429; 14. Collins 451; 15. Western Hills 460; 16. Franklin County 468; 17. Bullitt East 474; 18. Assumption 530.

Top 20 individuals - 1. Kie Purdom (Henry Clay) 72 (E); T-2. Olivia Cason (Owensboro Catholic), Leslie Ginter (Henry Clay) 73 (+1); 4. Madison Thomas (Shelby County) 74 (+2); 5. MacKenzie Peyton (Henry County) 75 (+3); 6. Judianne Speech (West Jessamine) 79 (+7); T-7. Meredith Moir (Sacred Heart), Kylie Lysack (Scot County) 80 (+8); T-9. Lilly Young (Shelby County), Caroline McDonald (Boyle County), Maddie Hensley (Henry County) 81 (+9); T-12. Michaela Jarman (Boyle County), Kaylee Wilson (Pulaksi County), Mallory Lovell (Scott County) 83 (+11); T-15. Samantha Stewart (Boyle County), Sarah Son (CAL) 84 (+12); T-17. Erin Durstock (Notre Dame), Kennedi Dermon (Owen County) 85 (+13); T-19. Morgan Tinsley (Sacred Heart), Ryan Bender (Sacred Heart), Emily Lyons (Owensboro Catholic), Lydia Merrifield (Owen County) 86 (+14).

Other Shelby County scores - T-23. Jennifer Fuqua 87; T-30. Jenna Lewis 92; T-71. Katie Butler 117; T-77. Faith Wiley 124.

Collins scores - T-25. Claire Watts 88; 60. Mallori Webb 110; T-77. Rachel Goodwin 124; T-82. Cori Taylor 129; 86. Mattie Robinson 135.

Henry County’s Lady Cat Invitational
Monday at Henry County Country Club

Team scores – 1. Sacred Heart ‘A’ 320; 2. Shelby County ‘A’ 331; 3. Owen County 361; 4. Henry County 374; 5. CAL 375; 6. Sacred Heart ‘B’ 390; 7. Collins 398; 8. Shelby County ‘B’ 514; 9. Assumption 519.

Top 10 individuals – 1. Thomas (SCHS) 65 (-7); 2. Peyton (Henry County) 70 (-2); 3. Maddie Hamilton (Sacred Heart) 74 (+2); 4. Young (SCHS) 75 (+3); 5. Dermon (Owen County) 77 (+5); 6. Moir (Sacred Heart) 80 (+8); 7. Mary Borders (CHS) 81 (+9); 8. Katie Posto (North Oldham), Erin Rowland (Sacred Heart) 82 (+10); 10. Bender (Sacred Heart) 84 (+12).

Other SCHS ‘A’ scores – Lewis 92, Fuqua 99, Wiley 109.

SCHS ‘B’ scores – Butler 105, Kendall Mills 128, Abby Ellis 129, Sydney Ellis 152.

Other CHS scores – Watts 85, Webb 111, Suttor 121, Taylor 123.