Hickory takes top honors at county match

The Hickory men’s golf team won the Catawba County golf tournament for the 11th time in 12 attempts Thursday.

Leading the Red Tornadoes was the sensational play of senior J.T. Poston, who shot a 4-under-par-68 to win the tournament. That performance comes three days after he shot a 1-under-par-71 Monday in a Northwestern Conference match.

“When I shot 71, I shot the ball really well, but didn’t make any putts at all,” Poston said. “That was my main goal. I wanted to read the greens better and make some putts. I did that a little bit today, but I still missed maybe four putts within 15-feet.”

Poston’s most impressive shot of the day was on the Par-5 16th hole. He nearly double eagled the hole, but had to settle for an impressive 2-under-par eagle.

“I had 220 yards from the fairway, and I hit a hybrid,” Poston said. “I had to hit it about as good as I could to get it there. I hit it right in the center. I couldn’t tell from the fairway, but I was told it landed about three feet in front of the cup and almost one-hoped in.”

Hickory also got impressive performances from the rest of its golfers. Peter Harrill, the Red Tornadoes’ No. 4, shot a 2-over-par-74 to finish in third place. Frank Wyatt finished in sixth place, and Matt Turner and Win Batalow tied in eighth place to help give Hickory the title.

Finishing second was St. Stephens golfer Mason Houston, who was four strokes back. He said his strong-hold was his ability to putt.

“I hit the ball off the tee,” Houston said. “I hit a lot of greens, but I putted really well. I made about six 15-footers today, and I didn’t really miss any short ones. I really scored well on the greens.”

Maiden’s Thomas Lilly fought off a tough day to finish in a tie for fourth place with a 3-over-par-75.

“The course was playing pretty tough,” Lilly said. “The greens were fast. It was a ‘working man’s’ 75. I missed a lot of greens. It definitely wasn’t easy. Once I got a little confidence in me on the No. 2, I started playing better and made a few more birdies after that. It was an all right day.”

All of the Catawba County teams look ahead to the rest of conference season and the post-season. Poston said he has confidence heading into the rest of the season.

“Just the way I’ve hit the ball this whole week was great,” Poston said. “If I can figure out how to make some more putts, I can shoot really low. I am just going to focus on continuing to hit the ball like I am and making more putts. It will pay out later on in the season.”