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Hinkle claims club crown

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Robert Howey

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rhowey@thelancasternews.com

Youth was served in a big way Sunday afternoon, Aug. 9 at the Lancaster Golf Club.

Lancaster High School freshman golfer Brady Hinkle, 14, would be considered a youngster by age, but he was the man of the hour at the LGC.

Hinkle notched a stellar three-under 141 (72-69) to take the LGC championship on an overcast day.

Hinkle, a zero handicap golfer, posted a nine-shot victory over defending club champion Mike “Red Man” Kennington, who finished with a six-over 150 (72-78).

“Brady has had the hottest hand out here for about a month and it showed today,” said Kennington, who edged Hinkle for the club title last August with a six-shot win after posting a one-under 143. “Brady played real solid and he earned it. I just couldn’t do nothing with the kid.”

Hinkle and Kennington, a four-handicap golfer, were tied at even-par 72 on Saturday afternoon following the opening 18 holes of play.

Hinkle, who had six birdies in the final round Sunday, opened with a two-shot lead Sunday morning on consecutive birdies and stayed in control take the win.

“Mike’s a good player, but I outplayed him today,” Hinkle said. “He battled Saturday and shot a 72, so I knew I had to come out and play real well today.”

Hinkle’s two birdies to open play on the front nine gave him the early edge Sunday and he extended it to four shots at the turn.

“He had four shots on me at the turn and then I double-bogied No. 10,” Kennington said.

Five holes later, Kennington notched a birdie with a 45-foot put on the par-three, but Hinkle matched him with a 30-foot birdie putt to give him a seven-shot lead with three holes to play.

“It seems when I got in trouble, I played smart and got out of it pretty well,” Hinkle said. “On No. 15, Kennington made a birdie, but I rolled another birdie on top of him.

“I was heading to a par-five and I felt I had momentum,” Hinkle said. “I was feeling pretty confident.”

Club pro Phil Small said No. 15 was a key.

“You feel pretty good when you make a long birdie putt like ‘Red Man’ did, but then Brady came back with a birdie and that pretty much negates it. Mike was probably feeling pretty good, but then Brady came back to match it.”

Hinkle, for the final round, registered six birdies, nine pars and three bogies. Hinkle had 11 birdies over the final two days.

“That’s excellent golf and I know the ball might not have been carrying well with the air a little heavier with the chance of rain,” Small said. “A 69 is a real good score with the way the course was set up and the weather conditions.”

Chris Johnson, a former club champion who was in the championship foursome, noted Hinkle’s play.

“Brady was solid and he kept his composure,” Johnson said.

Hinkle, after building a seven-shot lead with three holes to go, finished with a birdie, bogey and par.

“Seems like on nearly every hole we were saying good birdie, Brady,” said former USC Lancaster golf coach Rick Walters, who was in the championship foursome.

Hinkle shared the spotlight with a host of golfers.

In the first flight, Tim Woodward won with a 162 (83-79) to edge Larry Snyder with a 163 (83-80).

Dick Lesley captured the seniors title for the second straight year, carding a 158 (81-77) for a one-shot win over Bruce Barrett, 159 (80-79).

Danny Reynolds captured the super seniors crown with a 141 (73-68), with Roger Hayes second at 144 (71-73).

“We had a quality field this weekend and it was reflected in the play all the way through,” Small said. “Overall, you have to give it to Brady because to win the club championship at age 14 is a tremendous feat. He’s the youngest to win it since I’ve been here. Brady was the runner-up last year at 13 and he used that experience to his advantage today.”

Hinkle, an all-region performer for the LHS golf team and a Lancaster Junior Golf Association chapter age division champion and all-star, said he’s looking to next season.

“It feels great to win today and I have a bunch of confidence going into next year,” he said.

“I said last year when I won Brady was going to have his day,” Kennington said. “Brady’s got skills and he’s going to get some more titles.”