When the KHSAA switched the state tournament golf format last season, it opened up the opportunity for more golf courses to be involved in postseason play.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Willows at Kenton County Golf Course will be the home to the substate tournament for both boys and girls as eight teams and 40 individuals will try to advance to Bowling Green for the state tournament.
Both tournaments consist of Regions 5-8 that made it out of their respective region tournaments. The top two teams and next 10 individuals not on those teams advanced. For substate, three of the top eight teams advance to Bowling Green and the next 15 individuals not on those teams qualify.
Monday the girls will hit the course consisting of North Hardin, Central Hardin, Sacred Heart, Mercy, Cooper, Ryle, Owen County and Bishop Brossart.
Sacred Heart is the strongest team out of the group with Cooper expected to advance behind them. Owen County is slotted as the third best team based off regular season results, having been one of the 15 teams to qualify for the KGCA All-State tournament last weekend. Bishop Brossart advanced out of region for the first time in program history, their top five consists of Emma Laker, Olivia Schuetz, Amery Kuehne, Bailey Ritter and Lucy Phirman.
Cooper has been solid all season, winning seven tournaments, including a fourth straight 7th Region title this past week. Reagan Ramage also won her fourth straight title individually while Kendall Brissey and Eva Maley placed in the top four for the fourth straight year. Maley recently won her second straight Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference title while Brissey shot a 69 at The Willows earlier this season at the Notre Dame Invitational on Aug. 10. Ava Finke and Sydney Koenig round out the top five for the Jaguars. Ryle’s top five is Anika Okuda, Elizabeth Dickson, Morgan Poe, Nikia Cornett and Lacey Wilson.
Local individuals out of the 7th Region are Notre Dame’s Didi Jiradamkerng, Dixie Heights’ Addyson St. John and Christen Tarter, Conner’s Sofia Seals, St. Henry’s Lexi McMillin and Carly Apgar, Walton-Verona’s Ava Klips, Beechwood’s Ellie Stamm and Bella Conrad and Simon Kenton’s Cayde Chatterton.
Local individuals out of the 8th Region trying to extend their seasons include Campbell County’s Allison Collins and Highlands’ Bailey Markus.
Tuesday will be the boys turn, the field consisting of Spencer County, South Oldham, Central Hardin, St. Xavier, Ryle, Covington Catholic, Highlands and Harrison County. South Oldham and St. Xavier are the strongest two teams with a potential healthy battle between Ryle, Covington Catholic and Highlands for the final qualifying spot.
When the three played at The Willows on Aug. 26 at the St. Elizabeth Invitational, Ryle posted the top score out of the three with a 302, Highlands with a 316 and CovCath a 322. St. Xavier won the Invitational with a 294, South Oldham posting a 300.
Highlands won their fourth straight 8th Region title last week at AJ Jolly while Ryle earned the 7th Region crown, defeating Covington Catholic by five strokes. Colonels’ Mitchell Gastright was the individual medalist, Highlands’ Hank Shick winning his second straight 8th Region title. The Bluebirds team consists of Shick, Oliver Golden, Nathan Kirst and Ryan Toole. They’re hopeful to have Nate Surrey available after missing the past couple of tournaments to an appendectomy. If not, Alex Race will fill in like he did in the regional.
The Raiders five is Tanner Lorms, Paxton McKelvey, Jake Roscoe, Palmer McKelvey and Andrew Roach. The Colonels will deploy Gastright, Ben Unkraut, Luke Pieper, Jacob Thomas and Avery Stanley.
Local individuals out of the 7th Region include St. Henry’s Parker Isaacs, Ben and Will Carter, Villa Madonna’s Quinn Thomas, Tyler and Adam Brandstetter, Simon Kenton’s Logan Robinson, Scott’s Chase O’Keefe, Walton-Verona’s Aaron Gutman and Beechwood’s Hugo King.
Local individuals out of the 8th Region include region runner-up Caleb Eaglin from Newport Central Catholic, NKAC champion Talen Beane from Campbell County, a duo from Bishop Brossart in Luke Bertsch and Branden Burkhardt and Bellevue’s TJ Sorrell.
The girls will tee off on Monday at 8 a.m., teams starting on the first hole, individuals starting on the back nine.
The boys will start on Tuesday at 8 a.m., teams on the first hole, individuals on the back nine.
The girls state tournament at Bowling Green Country Club runs Oct. 3-4, the boys state tournament is also at Bowling Green Country Club on Oct. 6-7.