The South Warren girls’ golf team shot nowhere near its best round of the season Tuesday at the 2019 KHSAA Girls’ State Golf Championship.
The 333 the Spartans posted was 21 strokes more than the team shot nearly a month ago to win the Bowling Green Invitational Tournament at Bowling Green Country Club – also the site of the state tournament – but it was enough to head into Wednesday’s final round in second place.
“We’re sitting right where I thought we would be,” South Warren coach Eric Holeman said. “They set up the course a little differently than in years past, and talking to other players and coaches out here yesterday, maybe it played with some players mentally.
“Some of the scores are down from years past, but I’m happy with where we’re sitting and how the girls played. I know they’re not happy, but as a whole unit, I’m excited and looking forward to going into day two where we’re sitting.”
McKenna Stahl led South Warren with a 5-over 77. The junior is tied for sixth individually at the end of the first round.
Junior Western Kentucky commit Faith Martin, who shot a 1-under 70 to win the Region 3 Tournament at CrossWinds Golf Course, finished Tuesday’s first round with a 6-over 78 and is tied for 11th.
“Just solid rounds. (Stahl and Martin) keep scrambling to try to post good scores,” Holeman said. “You need four scores to make the team, but you know you can always count on them to put a good, low score up there for us to build off of.”
Lauren Holeman (87) and Abigail Cline (91) added scoring finishes for the Spartans, who trail Lexington Christian Academy by 20 strokes.
The rest of the top six remain close behind South Warren. North Hardin is third with a 339, Marshall County and Sacred Heart Academy are tied for fourth with 340s and Pulaski County is sixth with a 343.
Defending team champion Lexington Christian made its way to first behind a 3-under 69 from defending individual champion Laney Frye. The Region 9 individual champion birdied No. 2, 4, 8 and 9 to finish the front nine 4-under. She bogeyed the 14th hole, birdied the 16th and bogeyed the 17th, before finishing with a par on 18.
“My wedges were the best they’ve been all season,” Frye said. “I had 80 yards in at least six times and hit them all to within 10 feet, so that was pretty clutch for me.”
Frye’s score puts her in a tie for the lead with Boyd County’s Olivia Hensley, who finished the front nine with birdies on the fifth and eighth holes and bogeys on the third and seventh. She started the back nine with back-to-back birdies and added another on 14 to move to 3-under. She bogeyed 15, but capped off the round with another birdie to finish with a 69.
“Keeping the ball off the tee in the fairways played a big role in making as many birdie putts as I could,” Hensley said.
Hensley will be trying for Boyd County’s second-ever individual girls’ state golf title and first since Samantha Hindman won in 1985.
The Lady Lions are ninth in the team standings with a 363, behind Grant County (358) and Madisonville-North Hopkins (362). Notre Dame (371) and Anderson County (383) round out the team scoring.
Madison Central’s Mattie Neeley finished with an even-par 72 and is in third, Monroe County’s Connor Geralds shot a 75 and is in fourth and North Hardin’s Ella Scherer is in fifth after shooting a 76.
Also making the cut are Glasgow’s Abbie Lee and Allie McCoy, Barren County’s Bree Russell and Greenwood’s Emily Morgan. Lee, the Region 3 runner-up, is tied for 23rd after shooting a 9-over 81, McCoy is tied for 54th with an 85, Russell is tied for 30th after shooting an 82 and Morgan is tied for 48th with an 84.
“We played here a couple weeks ago for the BGIT and (Morgan) played pretty well, posted a good score,” Greenwood coach Kevin Clark said. “She came out today really strong again – a lot of pars, a couple of bogeys – and had a 40 on her first nine. She got a little nervy there coming in, waved a little, held it together, pulled an 84. I’m really proud of her.”
The cut line was 88 for the final round. Greenwood’s Maiah Cisco and Emma Harmon both shot 92.