COVINGTON - Eastside's golf teams are one round away from retaining the Newton Cup after taking a commanding lead in the first round at The Oaks Course on Tuesday.
In the boys match, Eastside had four rounds in the 70s to shoot a team score of 300 and take an 80-shot lead over second-place Alcovy, which had a 380.
Newton trails Alcovy, finishing with a 383.
The Eastside girls had two nine-hole rounds in the low 50s for a low score of 101, followed by Newton (114) and Alcovy (116).
"When we played last year, we were pretty much out of it. My goal, obviously we can't compete with Eastside, is for the boys and the girls to try to get second," Alcovy coach Chris Newsham said. "That would be an improvement."
Surprising the field, but not necessarily Eastside boys coach Jay Cawthon, was Ace Cook, the Eagles' No. 5 player.
Cook shot the low round with a 2-over 73 with two birdies, on the seventh and 17th holes.
"He played No. 5 today, but my top players have rotated all year long, so he could be my No. 1. He's so talented. He just needs to get a little more consistent," Cawthon said. "That was a great round for him. He has as much talent as anybody on the team, there's no doubt about it."
Shooting a scoring round for Eastside were Nick Green (74), Tate Miller (75) and Taylor Lazenby (78).
J.T. Blaker almost had a round in the 70s as well but finished with an 80 for the 18-hole match.
Despite birdies on the second, fifth and 10th holes, he was unable to overcome his nine on the ninth hole.
Blaker's birdies on the second and 10th holes could have easily been eagles.
On the par-4, 318-yard second hole, Blaker reached the green on a drive, putting the ball 25 feet from the hole. He missed an eagle by six inches.
On the par-5, 520-yard 10th hole, he had a little bit too much power, putting his ball on the far side of the green in two shots.
"We're playing pretty good right now, and it was under some tough conditions," Cawthon said. "That's four really good rounds. I'm real proud of them."
Scoring for Alcovy were Matt Moore (79), Tyler Azar (94), Patrick McNally (103) and Drake Potts (104).
"Seventy-nine is not too bad, but he's capable of better," Newsham said. "His short game, chipping and putting, is hurting him right now. But he's hitting it pretty good off the tee and getting it on the green, or around the green. ... He just has to find a way of getting it in the cup.
"I'm not too disappointed, a couple of the guys played reasonably good. We could've done a bit better based on what we've been shooting but it's not too bad. It's the first time a lot of these guys have played 18 holes."
Playing but not scoring for Alcovy were Jake Martin (110) and Jonathan Ralston (121).
Helping Newton achieve the score of 383 were Franklin Clackum (86), Josh Williams (89), Morgan Page (100) and Gavin Bowman (108).
Also playing were John Janis (113) and Warren Inge (117).
Just like the boys, the low medalist for the girls came from Eastside.
Maggie Smith's 50 barely beat out teammate Emily Almand, who had a 51 for the nine-hole round.
Additionally playing for Eastside were Jessi Lindsey (57) and Madison Raynor (65).
Providing Newton's low round was Lydia Mikula, who had a 54.
Briana Williams and Emilie Jones each had a 60 with Tiara Schinnery shooting a 66 for Newton.
Alcovy's two-player team of Elizabeth Alexander (56) and Yancey Clark (60) puts them in contention for second place.
"A 56 for Elizabeth is not too bad," Newsham said. "I can't grumble with that, that's about as good as she's played all year. I'd like for it to be a little better but I'm to disappointed."
The final round for the Newton Cup will be at 3:30 p.m. April 13 at Indian Creek Golf Club under a modified-alternate shot format.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.