Casey's Warner focused on last regional test

September 25, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

STANFORD - Kelli Warner minces no words when she talks about how important her next tournament is to her.

"It's probably the most important tournament in my career in golf," she said.

That should tell you something about how the best female golfer in the area is approaching the 8th Region Tournament, which is just four days away.

It's the last regional for Warner, a senior at Casey County, and she said playing well in the regional could help her play well at the state tournament the following week.

"I just think if I do well at region, it'll really set me up at state," Warner said.

Warner said she would love to close her career with a strong finish at the state tournament, but she has to get there first.


That means she'll have to earn one of five individual qualifying berths in the regional Monday at Somerset Country Club.

But while qualifying will be good enough to get Warner into the state tourney for the fourth straight year, it won't be good enough to meet her demanding standard.

"I want to win; that's the first thing," she said.

Warner's final tuneup came Wednesday, when she shot 38 in the last regular-season match of her career at Dix River Country Club.

"The last couple of matches I've played inconsistent," she said. "I'm fighting my swing, trying to get back on track. But I'm getting there."

When she gets to Somerset on Monday, she'll feel right at home on one of her favorite tournament courses

Regional moved from Campbellsville to Somerset

The regional was scheduled to be played in Campbellsville, but a conflict at the club there forced it to be moved. Warner said the move to Somerset suits her just fine. She shot 73 there in last year's regional, and she did it again in a tourney earlier this season.

"I've really done well on that course in the past," she said. "I was looking forward to playing at Taylor County, but Somerset is even better. It's shorter, and I'm not a long-ball hitter. If I can get my short game going up there, I hope I can score well."

Warner, who was second in the region and 26th in the state last year, has scored well all season long, despite her recent inconsistency.

"I've played high 30s golf in all my matches, and that makes me happy," she said.

But she isn't the only one capable of putting up a low score at Somerset, which will host one of the toughest regionals in the state.

The field will also include Lauren Scholl, the top player for host Pulaski County and Warner's former teammate at Casey. Scholl, who was limited by a collar bone injury last season, comes into the regional off a victory Saturday in the Henry Clay Invitational, where she shot 68. She also shot 68 to win the Somerset Invitational earlier this season.

"She's really gotten a lot better since last year," Warner said.

Then there are the girls of defending regional champion and state runner-up Russell County, which won last year's regional by a whopping 80 strokes with an average score of 76.8 and could easily do it again.

"I like having a really tough region," Warner said. "I like the competition because it pushes me more."

Warner hasn't yet learned who she'll be paired with, but she said it doesn't matter.

"I don't care if I play with talent or no talent. It shouldn't matter. My focus should overcome whomever I'm playing with," she said.

Warner, who said she hasn't yet decided if she'll play collegiately, said she has enjoyed playing with the young Casey team this season. The victories have been few, but younger girls are learning on a team that even didn't have the four players needed for team matches when the season began.

"My teammates have made it fun," she said.

Right down to the end, which Warner didn't even see coming.

"My dad just told me it was my last match. I said, 'It is?' I'm going to try to look ahead (when the season ends), but of course I'll look back because it's been so much fun," she said.

Garrard gets first victory

Garrard County scored its first victory of the season when it finished one stroke lower than Casey in their dual match Wednesday at Dix River.

Garrard had a team score of 236, led by Emily Burton at 56 and Christen Roy at 57. Tiffany Meadows shot 58 and Whitney Cox, Brooke Long and Ashley Singer each shot 68.

In addition to Warner's 38, Casey got a 55 from Rachel Brown and 72s from both Jenna Rousey and Ashley Foley for a team score of 237.

Mike Marsee can be reached at

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