Take nine blades of grass and send them skyward on a breezy day. Where they’ll land is anyone’s guess.

Such is the case with Saturday’s Madison County Golf Tournament. The absence of a truly dominant program makes this year’s venue as open as a tree-free par-5.

“I think this could be one of the better county tournaments that we have had in a few years,” said 16th-year Highland coach Jim Wright. “From the scores I’ve seen, I feel that Lapel could be the frontrunner. I also feel that If Pendleton and Highland play up to their potential that it could be interesting and more exciting.”

Anderson takes to the teeboxes of Killbuck Golf Course on Saturday morning as the defending county champion, though the Indians, led by senior Spencer Morris, will be hard-pressed to repeat.

“I would have to think for us to have a chance, the playing conditions will have to be bad and we will have to play well. We were the underdog last year and pulled off the upset and won the tournament and we are an underdog this season,” said second-year AHS coach Craig Brunnemer.

“I think that the favorites would have to be Pendleton Heights and Lapel. They have very deep teams. But you can’t count out Highland since they are playing on their home course.”

The Scots, who feature the likes of Austin Stagman, Zach Bailey and Andrew Hanna, could indeed benefit from course familiarity, particularly should Mother Nature elect to rain all over the proceedings.

Wright’s program placed fourth at county in 2007 and looks to move up.

“We’ve been in a slump lately, and hopefully we’ll work our way out of it this week,” he said.

The 2007 bridesmaid, Pendleton Heights, won county by seven strokes over Anderson and Alexandria in ’06 and could be among the frontrunners again.

Led by freshman Jake Groninger, the Arabians also feature talented golfers in Blake Stephenson, Brian Stanley and Tyler White.

“I am excited for the tourney, other than the weather (forecast). The rain will make it interesting and will probably level out the field,” said Pendleton Heights coach Chad Taflinger. “I am not sure we have a favorite in the county, but all the guys will be ready to go. (It) should make for a great Saturday.”

As for Lapel, which took fifth place at last year’s county tourney, junior Brodie Williams is a bonafide individual medalist prospect come Saturday. Same holds true for Groninger and Liberty Christian senior Alex Stinson. Stagman could also emerge high on the leader board, says Wright.

Frankton, a program that came in eighth at county last spring, would like an upper-tier placing this time around.

“We are 2-3 and improving. With only five meets under our belt, we aren’t sure how good we are,” said first-year Eagles coach Phil Thomas. “We are finally at full strength and hope to play well this Saturday.”

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