PH takes third straight county golf title

May 4—ELWOOD — While he may not have known how close the battle for the top spot was in Saturday's Madison County Boys Golf Championship at Elwood Golf Links until he sat down and looked at the scorecards side by side, Pendleton Heights senior Sam Denny knew the par attempt he was about to make on the fourth hole — his 18th — was a big one.

He was also keenly aware the par-4 fairway and green run alongside State Road 13, the gray stripe of asphalt just a few feet beyond the out-of-bounds markers in the rough and, from time to time, passers-by may feel the need to entertain themselves by making a little extra noise in an effort to distract golfers within view.

So, as the car driving by revved its engines to excess while Denny prepared to get the ball rolling, he was prepared.

"Someone did it before on someone else's tee shot, and I was thinking about that," Denny said. "When I set up to it, I said 'Please don't,' and then they did it, and I got kind of mad. But I just stepped away and made the putt."

The senior calmly sank the ticklish four-footer to complete a 1-over par 73 and claim his second Madison County medalist honor while leading the Arabians to a third straight team county title.

Denny edged teammate Ryan Davis by one shot, after Davis bogeyed his closing hole, and Lapel senior Kaden Suchocki by three shots after the trio had been locked in a tight battle throughout the morning and afternoon.

Denny, who also won the title in 2022, maintained an even keel during his round, which included four birdies. His score never wandered more than one shot away from par.

"At times, I tried to make (birdies), and other times I just tried to get it close," Denny said. "But I hammered a few in, hit them a little too hard but they fell."

"It was definitely a big adjustment today. The greens were very slow," PH coach Hunter Cook said. "The first couple holes, they left some putts short, but once they made the adjustment, they started seeing some birdies roll in."

The Arabians' score of 304 was the fourth-best in the history of the tournament, and Pendleton Heights — in addition to its current win streak — has won 12 of the 17 Madison County championships overall.

Cook said his team met both its goals Saturday in terms of placing and scoring.

"The goal was to be under 305, so we definitely hit that today," Cook said. "The boys just came out and played today. They wanted that three-peat, and they got it."

Lapel was second for the second straight year with a score of 316, followed by Frankton in third place at 323.

In addition to Denny and Davis, Suchocki (76), Madison-Grant's Bryce Yeagy (77), Frankton's Jace Scott (78) and Lapel's Owen Garber (78) earned All-County honors as the top six finishers. 2023 medalist Hayden Fox of PH also shot a 78 but lost a tiebreaker to Scott and Garber.

Vance Jarvis and Brady Gray completed the Arabians' scoring, each with a round of 79

Suchocki's round matched his career best for an 18-hole tournament. His round began with nine straight pars as he successfully navigated the tough greens.

"I was really just trying to hit the greens and trying to get the two-putts going," Suchocki said. "I knew not a lot of (birdie) putts were going to fall for me because of the greens, but that was the consistency factor."

Garber, Maverick Beeson (80), Bryson Hall (82) and Nathan Hobbs (83) rounded out the Lapel scorecard as the Bulldogs bettered their 2023 team score by 17 strokes and narrowed the margin with the Arabians from 25 strokes a year ago to 12 this time around.

Garber and Beeson are freshmen for coach Ryan Jackson, and while Garber was steady throughout his round, Beeson overcame a rough stretch early in his round to record three birdies in a four-hole period to salvage a solid round.

"I wanted to win the thing, but I also wanted to come in and challenge (PH), and I think we did today," Jackson said. "We played consistent, which is the biggest thing. ... I think we took a step into another level today. (Scoring in the) 330s is great, but taking a step up into the teens is another level. To get to that Pendleton Heights level, that's big."

Frankton improved by 27 strokes despite an off day from its top player. While Scott's 78 was their low score, Liam Baker — one of the pre-tournament favorites — shot a disappointing 81 from the top spot and was matched by Christian Knauer's 81 while Reid Utterback fired an 83 and Jett Hiatt added an 88 to complete the Eagles' scoring. The rounds from Knauer, Utterback and Hiatt all represented personal-best scores for an 18-hole event.

Yeagy's All-County performance paced the Argylls to a fourth-place team finish at 366, an 82-shot improvement. Mason Seward had a 95, followed by Jacob Moore with a 96, Leo Hood at 98 and Drake Tomlinson at 123.

Alexandria was fifth at 386 and was led by an 83 from Colton Eden and a 93 by Brady Gast. Micah Justus shot a 97 from the No. 5 spot while Jayce Alberts completed the Tigers' scoring with a 115.

Next were the hosts from Elwood at 397, bettering their 2023 showing by 34 strokes, with senior Beau Brandon's 91 pacing the Panthers. Luke Groover followed with a 95, Aden Nichols carded a 99, Ayden Belcher came in with a 112 and Braxton Dailey added a 114.

Anderson was seventh with a team score of 486 and was led by Andrew Smith's 108. Nick Davis with a 123, Bryson Schott with a 126 and a 129 from Tyler Sroufe completed the team scoring.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.