Home course pays off for St. Marys

ST. MARYS, W.Va. – Coleman Lamp was dealing and his St. Marys teammates were dialed in on their home course as well as the Blue Devils captured the Class A golf championship at Wednesday’s St. Marys Invitational.

On the nine-hole layout at St. Marys Golf Club,four birdie putts lipped out for Coleman as he recorded a par on his first nine holes. Two birdies and two bogeys on the back closed out his round at even par 64, which rewarded him with medalist honors.

“On the back nine, I was getting more putts to fall -64 is a good round,” Lamp said. “This gives me some confidence because I didn’t play so good at The Greenbrier on the Old White course. I hit it well over the summer, but I just wasn’t scoring very well. Today, I hit the ball better than I have been.”

Drew Nichols (70) and Jared Nichols (72) also represented St. Marys on the nine-member all-tournament team and gave the Blue Devils enough depth to hold off Madonna for the prize among the seven Class A schools. St. Marys scored 291, while Madonna took runner-up at 300 on the strength of a 68 from Howie Peterson. Joining Peterson on the all-tourney team were teammates Nick Mazur (75) and Mathew Lyons (75).

“Our kids play a lot of golf here and they’re used to the course, so it’s definitely a home-field advantage,” St. Marys coach John Mike Nichols said.

St. Marys and Madonna haven’t seen the last of each other since the two schools are in the same region. In the past five years at state, Madonna has won once and placed second four times.

“We come down here every year and St. Marys seems to beat us,” Madonna coach T.J. Brancazio said. “It’s good to get our players focused and not get overconfident. Get humbled to an extent.

“Home course in golf is a big thing. St. Marys has a nice team, so it will be a great regional. I have one freshmen in Howie Peterson and three seniors – I expect more from our seniors as we go along.”

Of the four schools competing in Class AA, Ritchie County placed three members on the all-tournament team – Riley Allen (68), Ben Knight (74) and Jon Harkness (74) – and distanced itself from runner-up John Marshall for the title, 300-346. The Rebels are now chomping at the bit for today’s Little Kanawha Conference Scramble being played on the Rebels’ home course at North Bend.

“This was a totally different course situation than what we saw Tuesday at Lewisburg, but the kids played well – it’s a good start,” Ritchie County coach Marsha Knight said. “The LKC Scramble will be a challenge.”

St. Marys is the defending champion of the LKC Scramble after shooting 15-under par last year at Mingo Bottom Golf Course in Elizabeth and winning by three strokes. “As a team, we can shoot pretty low at North Bend,” Lamp said.

Rounding out the all-tournament team was Ravenswood freshman Alex Easthom, who shot a 71 in his high school debut. Easthom’s first hole resulted in a birdie after he made a 30-foot putt.