Saturday, October 6, 2018
Bluebirds Cross Off Final Goal
After the final balls found their ways into their respective holes, it happened. The Bluebirds made the cut for the final day of the state tournament Friday at Bowling Green Country Club finishing ninth shooting a 320 on the par-72 course.
"Our goal for the day was to be 320 or better. The kids did that," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Traditionally speaking if you can shoot 320 or better, the numbers play out in your favor. When we left, it wasn't a for sure thing because half the teams still had to play. But I liked our position when we left the course after our round (Friday)."
Highlands hit two huge goals in recent weeks. The Bluebirds won the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Division I crown and won their first 8th Region championship since 2010.
The top 12 out of 24 teams move on to the second day. Highlands did not advance past the first day last year. But sophomore Justin Gabbard moved on individually and tied for 20th in the tournament.
The dynamic sophomore duo of Luke Muller and Gabbard again put up scores in the 70s of 75 and 79 respectively. Senior Ryan Leigh followed with an 83. But the Bluebirds received a huge lift from their other senior in Brady Walz who matched Leigh's score with a career day to round out the Highlands scoring.
"I was able to get off the tee pretty well," Walz said. "I putted pretty well and hit my irons pretty well. I tried my best to not hit it in the roughs. When I did, I just got it back out into the fairway."
The fifth participant for Highlands was eighth grader Joel Craft. He shot a 97, but has another day to redeem himself.
Richey described the course as a narrow-fairway course. He also said the roughs are thick because of the Bermuda grass and the greens are really fast.
Louisville St. Xavier led the field shooting a 291 on the first day. Highlands golfed with the Tigers and Lexington Christian Academy. Those two have combined to win eight of the last 10 state championships.
"I think (Friday's) experience will pay off for future rounds for sure because we were playing with two of the best teams in the state," Richey said. "Anytime you get to that level, you learn a lot."
The tee time for today is 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Highlands is paired up with Daviess County and Montgomery County players. The first tee time for the Bluebirds is 9:21 a.m. EST.
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