Harlan County’s Lewis wins playoff to take first in league match


Harlan County senior Matt Lewis won the final regular season Pine Mountain Golf Conference match on Tuesday with a three-over par 39.

Harlan County’s Matt Lewis closed out the final regular season match in his high school career in memorable fashion on Tuesday, winning medalist honors on a scorecard playoff after finishing in a three-way tie with Middlesboro’s Conner Winterbarger and Lane Bayless as all three shot a three-over par 39 at the Woodlake Golf Club in Tazewell, Tenn.
“I’ve said all season that Matt has been hitting the ball great. His scores were just not reflecting the quality of golf he’s played. Tonight, he finally put it all together,” Harlan County coach Greg Lewis said. “He drove the ball the best he has all season. His irons were pure, and his short game was brilliant as always. He has put the work in, and I’m glad to see him get the well deserved win. It was a perfect way to close out his final regular season conference match.”
Harlan County won the team championship with a 163, five strokes ahead of Middlesboro. Bell County finished with a 179.
“Tonight was the toughest match we’ve had all season during the conference season,” Lewis said. “Woodlake is a very tough course, and it played that way tonight. We battled down to the last shot and it took it as we edged Middlesboro by just five shots.”
Harlan County freshman Brayden Casolari, who has won numerous matches this season, finished one stroke behind at 40, along with teammate Alex Creech and Harlan’s Aiden Johnson.
“Brayden played well enough to win today. He just made a few untimely swings that cost him penalty shots on a couple holes. He’s played great all season, he just didn’t have his best stuff,” Lewis said. “Alex was very impressive tonight. Again he’s rusty from his fall baseball but he shot a good 40. He missed one shot a little right on his last par 5 that cost him a chance at the playoff. He has impressed me with how well he is hitting the ball.”
Cole Cornett also competed for the Black Bears and finished with a 44.
“Cole didn’t play great tonight, but didn’t play horrible either. He hit some great shots, but it seems like when he missed it was in places that cost him. He’s played great golf all season,” Lewis said. “This is the first conference match he hasn’t been in contention for the win.”
The Black Bears and Green Dragons will return to action Tuesday and Wednesday in Pineville at the conference tournament.
“Our program is in a great place,” Lewis said. “We literally have four kids out tonight who could win on any given night. We are heading into the conference championship next week trending in the right direction. I’m looking forward to getting out there next week and trying to finish this season the right way.”