Bethea shot a 69 in the final round of the Southern Foothills 1A Tournament. Heâ€™s keyed the Knightsâ€™ run of success this golf season. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
The North Lincoln Knights golf team captured the Southern Foothills 1A Conference Tournament title on Tuesday.
The win raises the Knightsâ€™ record to a stellar 31-6 on the year.
To head coach Mark Lackey the win was a little surprising.
â€œI knew we could compete, but you take teams like Hendersonville and Cherryvilleâ€”theyâ€™re pretty established. They had a good number of people coming back and a solid nucleus, so I wasnâ€™t sure exactly how we would do. I did feel we could make to regionals though,â€ he said.
The Knights had all odds against them heading into the last match trailing Hendersonville by a robust 13 strokes. But the youthful enthusiasm and innocent faith of the Knights prevailed.
Lackey told his team they would need four scores in the mid-70s to come back from the deficit they had played their way into.
â€œFor those kids that we put right there, theyâ€™ve all said all week long that they â€˜had to it.â€™ That was their goal going in, they told me they were going to do it and they did,â€ he said.
â€œWe beat them in the final match by 16 strokes and that gave us a three-stroke win,â€ Lackey proudly states.
â€œComing back from 13 strokes down in one match is an unbelievable feat. For a high school team to do that is an incredible accomplishment.â€
With the victory, North qualifies for the regionals. The regionals will be held Monday in familiar territory, Glenn Oaks Country Club, in Maiden.
The top three teams out of the regional will qualify for the State Championships at The Club at Long Leaf Country Club in Pinehurst, NC.
Kenny Bethea shot a three-under par 69, Zack Kiser shot a 78, Will Campbell finished with a 79 and Reid Ketner recorded an 81 at Glenn Oaks Country Club in Maiden on Tuesday in the conference-clinching round.
Bethea has been an instrumental part of the Knightsâ€™ success this year. Lackey believes his best has recently been coming out.
â€œKenny has been playing lights-out recently. He competed in tournament over the weekend and shot 72-72, then Tuesdayâ€™s round was a 69 and yesterday (Wednesday) at practice at Verdict Ridge he shot 69 again,â€ he said.
Carson King and Matthew Wentworth will join Bethea, Ketner, Kiser and Campbell in the regionals.
Lackey believes his team has a solid chance there.
â€œI think our chances are pretty good. I think we stand a chance to finishing in the top three. If we play like weâ€™ve been playing come Monday, I feel they are pretty good. There will be some stiff competition there,â€ he said.by John Mark Brooks