Area golfers aiming for state tournament

September 24, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

There may not be another Ben Fuqua out there this season, but there are several area players and teams who might learn from his example.

Fuqua became the first area golfer to win a state high school championship when he won the boys title for Danville a year ago. Yet he barely qualified for the state tournament, earning a berth only after winning a regional playoff.

At next week's regional tournaments, a number of players and teams from area schools will be trying to find their way into the state tournament. No local team will be favored to qualify for state either in the girls 8th Region Tournament Monday at Somerset or the boys 5th Region Tournament Tuesday at Russell Springs.

"I just don't know if the teams up here will have the four scores that will contend," Lincoln County boys coach Willie Hoskins said.


On the boys side, Casey County and Lincoln figure to have the best chance to send their teams to state, and the coaches of both teams say they're happy with their progress this season.

"They've made a big improvement," Casey coach Audrey Rousey said. "We were averaging maybe in the high 160s, and now we're either in the 150s or low 160s."

Hoskins said his players have also gotten better, especially from the bottom up.

"Our fourth and fifth man have improved quite a bit since the beginning of the season," Hoskins said.

Casey's boys stand out because they have beaten every other area team this season, but Rousey said consistency has been a problem for the Rebels.

"It seems like we can't get them all to play good on the same day," she said.

Grigson averaging 36

By the numbers, the area's best player is Lincoln senior David Grigson, who has a nine-hole average of 36.

"I think he's the top player," Hoskins said. "I wouldn't trade him for anybody."

Grigson has been pressed this season by teammate Taylor Hafley, who has been right behind him in most matches this season.

Casey's top player is junior Kyle Hundley, who averages 37 and tied for second place in a recent invitational at Somerset.

"If he's playing his game, then he can shoot as well as anyone down there," Rousey said.

Hundley is the leader of a young Casey team that figures to be on its way to becoming a regional contender in 2005. The team has only one senior, and he isn't in the top five. Derek Murphy has played his way into the No. 2 spot, followed by Jacob Brewer, Kyle Terry and Corey Dial.

Transfer Lincoln Nevels took the No. 3 spot at Lincoln, with David Harrison and Jordan Hogue rounding out the Patriots' top five.

Clay Carter of Boyle County and Matthew Bibb of Danville could also contend for a state berth. They'll have to qualify individually to make it to state, as both are part of teams with little regional experience.

Hoskins said he thinks the par-70 Lakewood course will yield some very low scores, as it did when it last hosted the boys regional. He said the winner of that tournament shot 67.

"If you keep the ball straight ahead out in front of you, there's not a lot of problems," Hoskins said.

Lincoln is top girls team

The top area girls team comes from Lincoln, which has more depth and experience than any other local team. The Patriots are led by junior Kandis Noe, with junior Logan Atwood in the No. 2 spot. Lindsay Jones and sisters Kristina Rankin and Lindsey Rankin round out their regional roster.

Lincoln seems to be the only local team with a realistic shot of earning one of two available state spots, but several other local players could qualify indiviudally in the regional Monday at Eagle's Nest Country Club.

Danville's Christina Hill will try to make state for the second straight year. Amber Baker of Boyle has consistently shot in the 40s this season, while Casey's Natalie Wesley and Mercer County's Tracy McClain could also contend.

There are five individual qualifying spots available in the girls regional, while the boys will play for only three. Both tournaments will send the top two teams to the state tournaments the following week in Bowling Green.

Russell County's teams are favored in both the boys and girls regionals. The Russell girls are the defending state champions.

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