Jackson County shot 300, two strokes ahead of Wayne County, to capture the regional golf tournament on Monday at Wasioto Winds in Pineville.
North Laurel’s Kyle Jeffers was the individual champion, shooting a seven-under par 65. Southwestern’s Caleb Honeycutt and Luke Gover were five strokes behind at 70 and also qualified for the state tournament as individuals. Jackson County’s Zach Norris also shot a 70 and will compete in the state tourney with teammates Jacob Anderson, Tanner Morgan, Jaaron Hignite and Blake Combs.
Corbin Kirksey led the Wayne County contingent headed to the state tournament with a 71. Others from Wayne qualifying for the state tourney are Reese Sexton, Trey Blevins, Isaac Dick and Gehrig Sexton.
The top two teams and the next three individuals with the lowest scores qualify for the state tournament.
Cody Brewer, a senior, led Harlan County with an 80. Eli Estep and Brendan Rutherford were next for HCHS, shooting a 96 and 97, respectively. Trey Early and Caleb Ashley also represented the Black Bears at the regional meet.
“Overall, everyone exceeded my expectations for the regional tournament,” Harlan County coach Drew Chamberlain said. “Cody was probably only five strokes away from advancing to state. Brendan recovered from a few bad holes and still shot a decent score. Trey overcame a lot of nerves and bounced back from some bad holes in his first regional tournament. It’s also worth mentioning that Trey has only been playing golf for a couple of years. As a freshmen, Eli far exceeded expectations in his first regional tournament as well. Caleb Ashley is only in eighth grade and competed in his first regional tournament. With the exception of four or five holes, Caleb played extremely well. I know he had to overcome a lot of nerves and bounced back tremendously from a few bad holes.
“This year’s regional tournament was a great experience for Eli and Caleb moving forward and I look for them to improve during the offseason as both love to play and constantly work on their game. However, next season will feel odd without Cody, as he has been a member of the team since I started coaching. Seeing his progression over the last four years, hopefully, motivates the players returning for next year.”
Sam Moore, a senior, led Harlan with an 84. Logan Murray was next with a 90. Zach Cornett and Eric Fitzpatrick also participated.
“I felt like Sam and Logan were consistent throughout the year. They were two great leaders for the younger kids to look up to,” Harlan coach Casey Lester said. “Sam qualified for the All A state tournament last year. Logan qualified this year. Logan will work hard in the offseason and be ready for his senior year next year. I think Zach and Eric both had a good year. Both are young and can build on this year. If they work hard in the off-season, I think both could have a good year next year.
“I will miss Sam. He has been with the program for six years. He has been one of our top golfers since seventh grade. It will be different with him not showing up for practice and matches next year.”