Play Strong or Go Home:
Local Highschool Golfers
Refuse to Lose
By: Sasha Bush
Greater Ashland Beacon
American amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of golf. Jones helped to not only design the famous Augusta National Golf Club, but he also was one of the original founders of the Masters Tournament. At a very early age Jones had a clear understanding of the game and was perhaps wise beyond his years. Jones believed, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; but you have to play the ball where it lies.”
Playing the ball where it lies is universally the most dreaded part about the game of golf. Sometimes you are left with what feels like an impossible lie and other times your only chance at making the green in par is to come up with a “Happy Gilmore shot.” Young golfers from all around tee’d up this past week as they competed in the Ashland Invitational. Bellefonte Country Club’s pristine course was once again the backdrop for this tournament. This year the competition was fierce. With over 85 golfers … this left little room for error.
Ashland Blazer High School’s coach, Josh Agee shared that he was eagerly excited to get this season started, “We have a lot of new and younger players this year. My hopes for this season are to be able to build well rounded young men with character, discipline, sportsmanship, and a drive to become to best that they can be. I stress to my kids (his team) that this game is about self-improvement and becoming better than you were yesterday. This game takes a lot of patience.”
Patience and golf certainly go hand-in-hand and takes a great deal of poise and grit to perfect. Every golfer that took part in Ashland’s Invitational certainly showed that they had both. However, at the end of the day, it was Russell that walked away with the lowest combined score and the win. Seniors Torin Kirk and Brody Kilburn helped to lead the Red Devils to victory by scoring a 73 by each on their score cards. Russell junior, Kolten Kirk wasn’t far behind as he contributed to the team’s victory with a final score of 78. At the end of the day Russell edged out Lexington Catholic by just two strokes securing the team’s first place finish with a score of 309.
Meanwhile the courses were running hot at Grayson’s Hidden Cove Golf Course. Female golfers from all around showed up to take part in the Boyd County Invitational. Greenup County senior, Cambria Burke put on quite a show during the tournament. Burke’s ability to read the greens was nothing short of impressive. The talented senior remained calm under pressure, was quick to think on her feet, and displayed a level of talent that most golfers can only dream about. With a score of 71, which is one under par for Hidden Cove’s unforgiving course, Burke secured her spot at the top. Burke hopes to keep the same momentum going this year and ride it all the way to state.
Trailing Burke by just three strokes, Boyd County’s Morgan Kennedy was runner-up with a score of 74. Kennedy’s mother and Boyd County High School girls golf coach, Missy Winkle Kennedy has high hopes for this season as she shares that the team continues to improve season to season, “Boyd County girls golf is growing! We had thirteen girls come out for golf this year and that is pretty amazing. Growing the game in the county has always been one of our (BCHS) goals. We now have a varsity team and a reserve team. For our varsity team… we want to work on our overall team score for 18-holes. We have to keep one another pumped throughout the game and understand that its ok if one of us have a bad round… that just means that someone else needs to step up and grind it out on the course. If we can play like we did at the Lady Lion Invitational as a team… then we will be in a good place to move on from Regionals to Semi State this year just as we did last year.”
Coach Kennedy mentioned that she is extremely proud of the progress that the girls have made and that they have gotten more consistent in their game play. Kennedy’s daughter Morgan and senior Kristen Ramey have both dropped at least five shots from last year. Being veterans to the game, both girls have worked hard to get to where they are and have proven themselves on the course. Demonstrating time and time again how to recover from a bad lie, both Kennedy and Ramey have become role models for the younger golfers on the team.