E.A. Sports Today

A different guy

A more confident Hughston leads Donoho to first-round lead of the Calhoun County Boys Golf Championship

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The difference between the Harrison Hughston who took a 9 in last year’s Calhoun County Boys Golf Tournament playoff and the one leading this year’s tournament today isn’t the 10-foot putts he’s making with more regularity these days it’s the six inches between his ears.

The Donoho junior is a much more confident golfer these days. And it showed Friday as he shot a “solid” 3-over-par 75 and held it together through a balky finish to lead the individual race by two shots over teammate Jacob LeCroy.

HUGHSTON

All four Donoho counters shot rounds in the 70s in windy conditions at Cider Ridge Golf Club, giving the Falcons 310 for the day and a 15-shot lead over defending champion White Plains. The top nine players – and 12 of the top 15 that would be all-county – are all from either Donoho or White Plains.

Hughston birdied the two hardest holes on the golf course during his round – the par-3 third, his starting hole, and the tight par-4 16th – and was even par through 14 holes for a six-shot lead on the field. The round comes on the heels of a 73 he shot earlier in the week during a team tournament win at Canebrake Club in Athens, the same tournament LeCroy won with a sharp 67. He also had a 76 in the Arab Invitational, another Donoho team win.

“I’ve started going to (Hoover golf instructor) Wayne Flint and he’s got me feeling confident, he’s got me playing good,” Hughston said. “This year from last year is a big difference. I’ve definitely made a couple strides. I feel like this year I expect to shoot in the 70s every time, where last year this would have been my personal record. But I’ve been feeling confident, I’ve been feeling good about it, I expected this. I really did.”

It even carried through when things weren’t going well. After making the birdie at 16, he bogeyed each of the next three holes to come back to the field. But he buckled down for the good of the team and hit two solid iron shots into his finishing green and had his makeable birdie putt lip out of the hole.

Last year that probably wouldn’t have happened.

“Last year he was kind of sporadic; you never knew what you were going to get, greatness or mediocrity,” Donoho coach Garrett Burgess said. “Last year he’d go back and forth between the 3 and 4 spot. This year he’s been like the anchor, he’s counted every tournament. He’s playing with Jacob, up there battling him. Last year he’d go back and forth between the 3 and the 4 spot. He’s really improved in the last six months or so; it’s been a big difference.

“He’s figuring it out. A lot of kids it takes a little time to play a little bit and figure out this is how I’m supposed to do and this is how I was doing it. You can give a guy a thousand lessons, but unless he works at it and wants it he’s not going to get any better. And every one of the guys on the team now, they want to be good.”

A year ago, White Plains was two shots off Oxford’s lead and three ahead of third-place Donoho going into the final round. Donoho and White Plains finished tied at the end of regulation and the Wildcats won the first playoff hole by five strokes for their third straight county title.

Harrison took a 9 on the playoff hole that didn’t count towards the team total and thinks about that “all the time.” It has driven him all season and will drive him Saturday.

The margin is big bit wider for White Plains this year. Wildcats coach Chris Randall is just looking for his team to play as well as it can and maybe have a break out round.

“Golf is one of those things where you can’t guard them,” he said. “We’re not really concerned with what Donoho shoots; we just know they’re really good. We want to put together our best tournament of the year. We haven’t played great since the first tournament, the Blue-Gray down in Montgomery, and for one reason or another we just haven’t been able to put it all together. I keep seeing glimpses.

“But I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow. We learned a lot today and I really hope all five of our guys are going to play the best round that they’ve played in a while tomorrow.”

Check out a photo gallery of the opening round at www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

CALHOUN COUNTY BOYS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

Team scores: Donoho 310, White Plains 325, Alexandria 359, Oxford 390, Pleasant Valley 398, Ohatchee 449, Weaver 472, Jacksonville 491.

Individual scores
Harrison Hughston, Donoho 75
Jacob LeCroy, Donoho 77
Jack Svensen, Donoho 79
Buddy Ray, Donoho 79
Andrew Miller, White Plains 79
x-Gage Miller, White Plains 80
Nathan Griffin, White Plains 80
Josh Davis, White Plains 81
x-Kenny Okins, White Plains 83
Jake Munroe, Oxford 84
Holden Abernathy, Donoho 84
Logan Goble, Alexandria 84
Wesley Jenkins, White Plains 85
Zachary Nichols, Alexandria 86
Cameron McCareeth, White Plains 87
Ethan Johnson, Pleasant Valley 88
x-Ethan Floyd, Piedmont 93
Hunter Watts, Alexandria 93
x-Jason Howard, Donoho 94
Logan Lewis, Oxford 94
Nic Boyd, Oxford 95
Brooks Davis, Pleasant Valley 95
Sage Snow, Alexandria 96
x-P.J. Sotelo, White Plains 97
x-Austin Roberts, White Plains 97
Parker Alexander, Ohatchee 102
Adam Pritchett, Pleasant Valley 102
Eddie Ferguson, Ohatchee 110
x-Hunter Wert, Oxford 112
Nick Ledbetter, Weaver 112
Blake Noah, Ohatchee 113
Damon Parr, Pleasant Valley 113
Andrew Kilgore, Alexandria 113
Jud Grass, Jacksonville 114
Mason Lee, Weaver 114
Braxton McFall, Jacksonville 116
Jack Wert, Oxford 117
x-Landon Souder, Oxford 121
Caleb Allison, Weaver 122
Jackson Burrell, Jacksonville 124
Ryan Thacker, Ohatchee 124
Gabe Tonogan, Weaver 124
Nick Silvey, Ohatchee 125
x-Jonah Burson, Weaver 128
Ridge Hayden, Oxford 128
x-Logan Nelms, Alexandria 130
x-Sabian Scott, Anniston 131
Brock Murphy, Weaver 135
Eren Gaddis, Jacksonville 137
x-Kaleb Cargel, Alexandria 138
x-Draven Lipscomb, Piedmont 140
x-Braxton Tucker, Alexandria 142
Kolby Battles, Pleasant Valley 145
x-Tyrone Brock, Anniston 149
x-Playing as individuals

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