Peyton Needy wins state golf tournament



Green Ridge’s lone golfer of the season, Peyton Needy, prevailed through miserable conditions at Freemont Hills Country Club to claim the Class 1 State Golf Tournament in just 18 holes.

About three inches of rain shortened the first day of the tournament, and players resumed their first round on day two. Needy topped the field firing a 74, one stroke ahead of runner-up Brian Whitson of Advance.

Needy said the conditions were difficult to play through. There were puddles on the greens.

“I think everybody knew it was going to rain,” Needy said. “But I don’t think anyone anticipated it would be that bad.”

Boone Kroenke earned all-state, finishing with an 80 as Lincoln finished fifth as a team.

Sacred Heart’s Chris Mergen finished at an 87 to tie for 18th.

Gremlin head coach Steve Goodwin said he was proud of his three golfer’s efforts, and specifically praised Needy’s tournament performance.

“(The conditions) were miserable,” Goodwin said. “The worst conditions I’ve ever seen as coach. To shoot a number like that … It couldn’t happen to a better kid.”

Ending a scheduled 36-hole tournament at 18 is unique, and both added and subtracted from the tournament’s suspense. Needy, who completed 16 holes on day one, understood he was only a few strokes from the state championship when he woke up Tuesday.

“I kind of knew where I was sitting at, and it made it kind of hard to finish those holes,” Needy said.

However, the interrupted tournament put an early curfew on any Cinderella story-comebacks. Needy understands this disappointment. Last state tournament, he recovered from a season-high performance in day one to finish 13th after a strong round day two.

“Some kids weren’t very happy with 18 holes,” Needy said. “(Last year) I struggled the first day and came back on the second day. I think it should be a 36-hole tournament … but we would’ve had to wait until Thursday. I can see why someone would be unhappy.

“But it’s a beautiful golf course, so I can understand why they wouldn’t want to ruin it.”

Trevor Kroenke placed No. 22 firing an 89.

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