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Top-ranked Highlanders cruise past Lanesville, Crawford

Top-ranked Floyd Central fended off host Crawford County and visiting Lanesville in a three-way golf match at the Old English Golf Course on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon that made handling a golf club a pretty tough chore.
‘It’s hard to play golf when your hands are cold,’ said Floyd assistant varsity coach John Curry. ‘You can’t get a feel for what you’re doing. You’re trying to survive but all of them are used to it because we practice everyday. A lot of teams, when it’s cold like this they don’t even bother practicing but we practice everyday no matter what the weather is.’
‘Another thing you factor in is clothes,’ said Wolfpack coach Matt Poe, whose team came up four strokes short of the Highlanders. ‘I hate to blame it on anything but you get these kids with three layers of clothes where two days before this they were playing with t-shirts for two weeks, that’s something that just messes with them. That had an affect on them. They’re not concentrating as much.’
In the number one group of Floyd’s Caleb Keller, Crawford’s Lyndon Jones, and Lanesville’s Andy Glomb, Keller and Jones did a good job of handling the cold, parring the first four holes. Glomb, however struggled to keep the ball in the fairway.
‘I was even through four,’ said Jones. ‘On number two I got up and down with a real long putt. That was real lucky. Beside that, on number one I hit good shots. I had a good look at birdie but couldn’t make that. On three I had a good look for birdie but two-putt for par. On number four I had another two-putt for parr. After that I had a couple of bogies but it wasn’t too bad overall.’
One of Jones’ best shots came on the fourth hole when he placed a 90-foot chip shot within two feet of the hole.
‘The weather wasn’t as bad today as I thought it was going to be,’ said Jones, who finished with a 39 for the round. ‘My hands got a little cold but that’s usually my problem…The sun came out there and it didn’t affect me that much so it was okay.’
‘Lyndon is always there and is Mr. Consistent,’ said Poe of his senior. ‘That’s what we look for out of him…He always comes in. He’s always just solid.’
It wasn’t quite that way for Crawford’s number two, however, Brandon Curl, who finished with a 40 for the nine holes.
‘I”ve got real sensitive hands,’ Curl said blowing into hands on number five. ‘This just kills me.’
Brandon Stevens also struggled and failed to make into Crawford’s top four. Stevens watched his second shot on #7 go almost in an opposite direction of what he wanted.
‘That’s the second time I’ve done that,’ said a disguted Stevens. ‘It’s just stupid. That’s the second time I’ve shanked it. I don’t know. I just can’t hit the ball straight.’
The entire Lanesville team struggled through the day. Daniel Senecal and Zach Gurtz tied for the team’s low scores of 52 each.
Two people that did hit the ball straight was Crawford’s Jarret Denzinger and Floyd’s Johnny Bickers. Both golfers tied for low round honors with equal scores of 37 for the nine holes.
‘The cold might have got to some of the people,’ said Denzinger after his round. ‘It didn’t really seem to bother me a whole lot. I had a good day.
‘The drives were going pretty well. I hit my driver pretty straight and long. It felt better than usual. The greens were aerated. The greens weren’t extremely fast. They weren’t slow but they were fast enough you could read a putt straight.’
As for the wind, Denzinger, a freshman who plays 5-6 times a week during golf season, said you just have to work your way through it.
‘The wind, some of the holes it was in your face and some of the holes it was at your back,’ he said. ‘You had to play it. It didn’t seem to bother me a whole lot. Some of the holes it really helped if you could keep (the ball) down.’
‘He’s a really good player,’ said Jones of his team mate. ‘He plays all the time and works hard. He gets results. When you come out here and practice you’re going to be good and that’s what he does. He’s going to be a big help. He’s going to push our guys to get even better all the way down the line toward the post season.’
Poe echoed the same sentiment as Jones.
‘He’s got a lot of talent and is going to be big down the road,’ said the Crawford coach. ‘He’s really a great addition to this team. In 36 degree weather and cold, his first varsity match of his career and shooting a 37 says a lot about it. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come throughout the season. His dad’s (Phil Denzinger) a very good golfer and has brought him up with golf. He’s a special talent and could play on most varsities around the state.’
Bickers said he was more worried about his hands than handling the club when he first started the match.
‘On the first holes I was more worried about keeping my hands warm than keeping the ball in play but it was all good,’ said Bickers, a senior. ‘After the first hole I warmed up to the point where I could hold (the club) normally. All of the layers was affecting my swing a little bit but not too bad.’
‘I hit the ball around and made a few putts,’ he said. ‘I got lucky there on the par five and chipped in for birdie. I had all fours going into the last hole and I had to settle for even but I’ll take a 37 any day, especially in these conditions.’
‘He was even after about six holes and he ended up shooting one over,’ Curry said of the senior. ‘He played really well. Caleb (Keller who finished with a 38) has been real steady all year. He’s just real consistent. That didn’t surprise me much. That’s what I expected out of him.’
Bickers said being ranked number one adds more pressure but the pressure is what his team feeds on.
‘It’s hard because we’ve got a target on our backs,’ Bickers said. ‘We’ve just got to continue practicing and working hard like we did last year when we went to state.’
‘It’s a good thing,’ Curry said. ‘It’s going to help motivate them and keep them solid…All it takes is one bad day to get beat and I think they figured that out last year. So they’re motivated. They know they’ve got to play their best everyday. That’s why you tee it up. Ranking doesn’t mean anything…They’re just anxious to play and keep going.’
When asked about the key to repeating as state champions, Bickers could only think of one.
‘Maybe not letting our egos getting in the way,’ Bickers said. ‘We’ve just got to continue working hard.’
Poe said his team had good reason to be ready to play and was happy with the finish.
‘How could you not get up to play the number one team in the state,’ Poe said. ‘You’ve got them on your own course. Last year they beat us by eleven at Valley View up there. It was a miserable day like this…Four shots is not too bad. We had some kids where the first hole killed us. We got off to a bad start, a lot of double bogies. Number eight was one hole that just killed us that is normally the second or third easiest hole on the course.’
Poe said the biggest thing going for his team this season was having the local course at English to hone his players’ skills.
‘That’s where you start to see special things happen with Crawford golf that would have never happened if we played at New Salisbury and stuff of that nature,’ Poe said. ‘We’re starting to see junior high kids every year getting better…We have a lot of golfing dads that takes them while they’re kids. That’s the luxury and benefits of a golf program.’
At Old English G.C.
Floyd Central 155 ‘
(Johnny Bickers 37, Caleb Keller 38, Scott Reed 40, Logan Lamb 40)
Crawford County 159 ‘
(Jarret Denzinger 37, Lyndon Jones 39, Brandon Curl 40, Chris Carr 43, Ryan Griffith 43)
Lanesville 227 ‘
(Daniel Senecal 52, Zach Gurtz 52, James Schmeltz 60, Andy Glomb 63)