BASYE — Everything came together for Michael French on Monday.
The Central senior golfer shot a personal-best 79 and finished second in the Class 3 Northwestern District Tournament held at Bryce Resort.
“I’ve been going through a little slump, I think, but I practiced really hard this weekend,” French said. “After our last match, I’ve been working really hard and I think it definitely paid off today. I think I’ve been having trouble converting over from practice to match day. I think the nerves are getting in the way a little bit. But today I just relaxed and I just played good golf.”
French’s 79 helped lead the Falcons to a third-place finish as a team. Brentsville’s Tony Collier won top individuals honors with a 69 on the par-71 course. All of the teams in the tournament automatically advance to next week’s Region 3B Tournament held at William Monroe’s home course — Greene Hills Country Club.
After shooting a 39 on the front nine, French shot a 7 on the par 4, 10th hole. However, he quickly recovered.
“I got a 7 on that hole but then I rebounded really well,” French said. “I got three pars after that.”
He made his only birdie of the day on the par 5, 16th. He said his birdie putt was a 15-footer.
“That birdie — I definitely earned that one,” French said. “ I had a bad tee shot, but I came back with some really good shots. I kept my composure. I was really pleased after I had that (birdie).”
The Falcons had a team goal of shooting a 355 and third place, but shot a 365 and still finished in third.
“I’m very proud of Michael (French),” Central coach Dustin Thomas said. “I know it’s his senior year. I know he wants to make it to the state tournament. And right now he’s trending in the right direction. Couple other people if they would have shaved their scores down a little bit, we could have probably been at that 355 goal. But all in all, I would say it was a successful day. We’ve been playing some bad golf as of late, but I think we played pretty good today. We get to regroup before going into regionals next week, and I think we’re starting to go in the right direction.”
Skyline finished fifth as a team and was led by Caleb Dotson’s 87. As a team, the Hawks shot a 373. Skyline coach Monty Goff said that his team’s biggest problem on Monday was putting.
Goff said that many of his golfers have trouble moving on quickly after a bad hole.
“They let the bad hole fester too long and it turns into two or three holes,” Goff said. “Then they’ll figure it out and they’ll have a nice run with it.”
Goff said his young team, which has only three seniors, does well in practice but then struggles when it comes to match play.
“For some odd reason when we get into competition, I think they just put too much pressure on themselves,” Goff said. “The biggest thing we stress is to go out and have fun with it anyway and they’re doing it. ...We seem to play well at Green Hills, so hopefully we’ll have a decent score next week (in regionals).”
The Wildcats finished sixth in the tournament with a 448. Warren County’s Michael Kelly and Will Baldwin led the way with a 107 each.
“We definitely showed our youth and inexperience today,” Warren County coach Matt Wadas said. “But a good time to learn when there’s nothing really on the line. We’ve got regionals coming up next week. So hopefully we take our licks today and come back next week.”
The Wildcats have a young team, with no seniors, and he said his goal for regionals is for his squad to learn and gain experience.
“Our focus isn’t really about getting to states next week,” Wadas said. “It’s about getting the experience of being in regions for the first time for these kids and getting the experience of a new course and using that for the future. Without any seniors I’ve got this whole team returning next year — so that’s a big positive. So trying to get as much experience under our belt as we can, I think is the most important thing.”
Brentsville won the team tourney with a score of 316, while William Monroe was second with a 352.
French said he is looking forward to next week’s regional tournament and trying to advance to the Class 3 state tourney.
“I’m very excited,” French said. “I’m happy that I’m playing pretty well again. And I’m just going to keep on practicing and packing in the rounds, and hopefully I’ll be ready for regionals.”