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St. Marys golf victorious at LKC Scramble

With Cole Darnold in the forefront, the St. Marys golfers line up a putt on the third green at North Bend Golf Course during Wednesday’s Little Kanawha Conference Scramble. St. Marys successfully defended its title by finishing at 15-under 57. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

HARRISVILLE — As the three-time defending state champions in Class A golf, the 2022 version of the St. Marys Blue Devils wasted no time trying to set the bar even higher opening week.

Wednesday at North Bend Golf Course, the St. Marys foursome of Brayden Hall, Preston Lawhon, Cole Darnold and Trent Renner flirted with equaling the scoring record of 17-under par while winning the Little Kanawha Conference Scramble for a second straight year.

The Blue Devils fell shy of their mark, yet still managed to establish a five-stroke margin of victory with a final round 15-under 57. Placing in a tie for second place at 62 were Gilmer County’s ‘A’ squad and a foursome using a combination of one Ravenswood golfer and several from St. Marys.

The 12-team field also featured Roane County’s ‘A’ unit placing fourth at 63.

As the lone senior on the roster, Hall is considered the No. 1 golfer on the team and a holdover from last year’s state champion run. He basically eagled the par 5 second hole by himself after St. Marys used each of his three shots.

“I hit a really good drive on that hole — everyone else had pretty good shots, but I guess mine was the furthest and the straightest,” Hall said. “On my second shot, I put it within 6 feet from the pin and made the putt.”

Renner’s putter kept St. Marys on pace for a possible record after he sank two eagle putts on the front nine. The Blue Devils toured the first nine at 8-under 28.

“On those two eagle putts, Cole gave us a good read — I just got lucky and sunk them,” Renner said.

Renner also converted a lengthy putt for birdie on the par 3 third hole which moved the Blue Devils to 15-under with two holes remaining on the nine-hole course.

St. Marys, coached by interim head coach Blaze Armstrong, settled for par on each of the final two holes. Head coach Catie Hamilton gave birth to a girl last week and her return to the high school golf team is up in the air at this point in the season.

“We had some unfortunate pars later in the round, but I am still impressed with our 15-under,” Renner added.

Darnold, a transfer from Ritchie County High School, and Renner are both juniors, while Lawhon is a sophomore. Several others are knocking on the door and possibly breaking into the varsity lineup.

“We lost two seniors to graduation and we shoot 15-under, that just shows we are still pretty good,” said Hall, who played both Nos. 3 and 4 in the rotation the past two seasons.“I think we will do well this season.”

In addition to the Wirt County Invitational at Mingo Bottom Golf Course on Friday, St. Marys and several of the LKC programs are competing at the Callaway Junior Tour’s High School Series this month. The Blue Devils have entered three of the four stops the high school series offers. A large contingent are expected for Monday’s stop at Parkersburg Country Club.

“We have a lot of potential and we are about seven deep — we have a good JV team.” said Renner, who played at No. 5 on last year’s lineup card. “I played as our alternate last year. From watching our guys play, you have to keep putting in the work.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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