Pat golfers putting up low numbers

STANFORD — Lincoln County boys golf coach Scott Montgomery has high hopes for the Patriots at region this year.
The Patriots are off to a 4-1 start this season with an average margin of victory of 24 strokes, 47 strokes the widest margin and a 4-stroke win the closest.
But it isn’t the margin of Lincoln’s victories that has Montgomery anticipating a strong post-season. No, it’s the low scores the Patriots are putting up: 149, a couple 156s and even a 165.
“We’re seeing a lot of good scores which gives me high hopes this year. I really do feel like we have a good shot of perhaps winning the region, or coming in second. I would love to see this group of kids go to state,” said Montgomery. “We’re doing good. Last year we were 12-4 and we’re off to a good start. We’ve lost only one conference match this season, and that was by one stroke.”
If Lincoln can repeat its season-low 149 twice when region rolls around, Montgomery is highly optimistic.
“If we can duplicate a 149 for 18 holes on regional tournament day, which is a big if, we’d be in the hunt to win the regional title,” he said. “A 299 won our region last year and 309 qualified to go to state as a team. We’ve had 310s, 312. It’s about getting at least four out of the five guys that will be playing to score well on the same day. That’s the biggest challenge of golf.”
“I don’t know for sure if we’ve ever had a Lincoln County golf team, as a team, go to state. I know we’ve had individuals to qualify in the past but am not sure about any teams going to state,” Montgomery said. “If not, I’d sure like to see this bunch be the first one.”
The Lincoln coach says maturity is a key factor as to why the Patriots are putting up such strong scores and why he feels they are potential regional contenders.
“I have a core group of seniors that have played since they were young,” Montgomery said. “Roland Taylor has played since fifth grade, Ryan (Montgomery) has played since he was in seventh grade, and Parker (Monhollen) has played since he was a freshman. Those are my three seniors with the most experience. I have another senior, Jared Long, that the only thing he doesn’t have is the experience because he just picked up the game two years ago. But he’s made more improvement than anybody. He was my most improved golfer last year. It would have been nice to have seen Jared earlier because he’s really done well.”
Taylor, Montgomery and Monhollen have been Lincoln’s leaders throughout this early part of the season, putting up sub-40 scores in almost all of the first five matches. And all three have shot the team’s low round of 35, with Taylor carding 35 in two matches.
The senior quartet aren’t the only weapons Lincoln has on course, though. The Patriot roster also consists of junior Chris Johnson, sophomore Wyatt Hon, freshman Kade Bandura, seventh-graders Lawson Hon and Carson Jenkins and sixth-grader Connor Sparr.
“Chris Johnson has played since middle school, and Wyatt Hon played last year. Then we’ve got the up-and-comers,” Montgomery said.
Johnson and Hon have both been scoring players in matches this season, with Hon’s scores counted in three matches and Johnson’s in two.
Bandura, who rounds out the high school roster, made his golfing debut this season.
“Kade Bandura has just started this year. In the month that we’ve been playing, he’s made big, big jumps. And that’s what golf takes. You’ve just got to play the game and learn as you go,” said Montgomery.
“Lawson Hon is probably the strongest player I have at the current time. He really pushes. He and Jared are right there on the bubble of being our fifth man. I have really high hopes for him in the future,” he said. “Carson Jenkins probably made more improvement since last year than anybody else on the team and then we’ve got Connor Sparr, who is just starting. He looks like he’s going to be a good one in the future, too, if he just hangs in there and keeps on working.”
Montgomery says he wouldn’t mind picking up some more young players.
“Hopefully, we can pick up some more young guys and get them in there early and let them come along like these seniors have,” he said. “You can’t let yourself get too frustrated with the game because it is a hard game to master. These young kids coming up, hopefully, they can grow and mature like the seniors we have now and be right there, too.”
Most coaches will tell you that consistency is one of the biggest struggles for golfers. Montgomery has not shared in that lament thus far this season.
“Our scores this year have been more consistent than they have been in a long time since I’ve been around,” he said. “I think it’s due to the kids being older. They have learned how to handle a bad hole a little better. We’re still learning about not taking a bad hole on to the next one. Probably there’s nothing more important than letting a bad hole go. You can’t do anything about it. You have to move on. Golf is not a game you can play when you’re uptight and letting those bad holes go is part of it.”
And for any players that struggle, Montgomery says their Patriot teammates are there for them.
“We are competitive and we are competitive with each other. But we also are supportive,” he said. “If one group is finished a little bit early, they will be on the holes as the other guys finish up to support and encourage, cheer their teammates on. If a player sees another player doing something, they may try to give them advice and try to get them headed in the right direction. They are friends and they work together. I’m proud of them. I enjoy having the opportunity to work with them.”
Montgomery added that he didn’t want to forget those support players who are in the background: the parents.
“Sometimes I don’t think they get the credit they deserve because there’s the expense, the dedication to make sure they have the opporunity to play. So I’d really like to thank my parents, and even grandparents,” he said. “R.C. Taylor has been a wonderful supporting cast member. He’s been at every practice. He makes sure students have water. He’s been a positive influence on all the guys I’ve got. He’s been so good to the team.”
Lincoln scoring from the first five matches of the season (Top 4 are scoring players):
Aug. 11
Lincoln at East Jessamine
LC 165, East Jess 202
Roland Taylor 40
Parker Monhollen 40
Wyatt Hon 41
Ryan Montgomery 45
Chris Johnson 52
Lawson Hon 44
Jared Long 43
Aug 16
Rockcastle Co. at Lincoln
Rock 155, LC 156
Roland Taylor 35
Ryan Montgomery 37
Parker Monhollen 40
Wyatt Hon 44
Chris Johnson 44
Lawson Hon 44
Jared Long 47
Kade Bandura 66
Carson Jenkins 42
Aug 18th
Garrard Co. at Lincoln
LC 149, Garrard 196
Roland Taylor 35
Ryan Montgomery 35
Parker Monhollen 39
Chris Johnson 40
Wyatt Hon 42
Lawson Hon 44
Jared Long 50
Carson Jenkins 51
Kade Bandura 66
Connor Spar 71
Aug 22
Lincoln vs. Boyle Co.
at Danville CC
LC 165, Boyle 169
Parker Monhollen 35
Roland Taylor 42
Ryan Montgomery 44
Wyatt Hon 44
Chris Johnson 47
Jared Long 46
Lawson Hon 49
Aug 23
Mercer Co. at Lincoln
LC 156, Mercer 165
Ryan Montgomery 37
Roland Taylor 37
Parker Monhollen 40
Chris Johnson 42
Wyatt Hon 42
Jared Long 42
Lawson Hon 45
Carson Jenkins 50
Kade Bandura 61
Connor Spar 68