Sep. 19—GRAYSON LAKE — For the second year in a row, Athena Singh sits atop the pack of the 12th Region golf world.
The Rowan County sophomore was the only golfer to finish below par on Monday as she took home the individual Region title.
"I feel like I did pretty well," Singh said of her win. "I played pretty consistent and I only had one bad hole. Everything was just hitting greens and fairways, and just making putts."
Singh sank five birdies on the day at Hidden Cove Golf Course to finish with a 3-under-par 69.
"I thought today went pretty well," Greenup County coach Tyler Maynard said. His team finished in third by just six points. "I thought we'd have a good shot of making a run and qualifying as a team, which would've been great, but Athena did what Athena does. She played well, played consistent, and stayed on pace. She does really well all the time."
Singh's only stumbling block throughout the round was on the par-5 12th hole, where she ended up with a double-bogey.
"It was a dogleg left and I tried to be aggressive and hit my driver," Singh said. "But I ended up hitting it in the trees."
Singh didn't stay down for long.
The next two holes went birdie, birdie, for Singh, as she erased the two strokes dropped on 12.
"I feel like the course was a lot better than when I played it last year," Singh said. "The greens were rolling true and there wasn't any rough bumps or anything. I felt like it was really good."
With the finish, Singh qualifies for her second consecutive State Golf First Round tournament. Singh came in second place in last year's First Round event but was unable to compete in the State Golf Championship due to a scheduling conflict.
"I hope I can do well in Winchester," Singh said. "Then I can move on to Bowling Green. Since I didn't get to compete there last year, I hope I can get there and I play my best there to at least get a chance."
Maynard will coach both Singh and Cadence Caskey in the State First Round. He thinks both could make it to the Championship round.
"I think Athena will have a chance," Maynard said "She got second last year and I think she'll have a shot to make a run at that. Cadence struggled a little bit last time, but with some experience under her belt I think she'll improve a few strokes and could have a shot at qualifying for Bowling Green as well."
Finishing in second place, and also qualifying for the State Golf First Round was Greenup County's Cambria Burke.
Burke was the only golfer for Greenup County in the match, meaning her only chance at getting to the First Round event was by having a stellar round.
She did just that.
The senior Musketeer shot an even-par 72 on Monday, punching her ticket to the Winchester Country Club for the State event.
"It went pretty well today," Burke said. "There were a lot of putts that sank that I was really happy about. Those really made the round."
Burke made the most of her short-game opportunities and recorded six birdies in the round.
"The greens were really fast and there were some tough pin placements," Burke said. "But if you landed on the green, you had a pretty good putt. On hole one I had about a 12-foot putt that went in. On 17, I had an even longer putt, downhill that broke hard, but it sank."
Burke encountered a few setbacks, including double bogeys on holes five and 16, but finished the day with a birdie on her final hole to get back even.
"I had those couple of bad holes," Burke said. "Those were tough holes for sure."
Burke hopes to keep her short game going strong as she goes to Winchester.
"I'm hoping to play significantly better than I did last year," Burke said. "I'd like to keep up with my putting, and just keep those sinking."
Rounding out the top of the leaderboard was Morgan Kennedy.
The Boyd County junior finished the event just behind Burke with a one-over-par 73.
"I felt like I played really well today," Kennedy said. "I had a couple of missed putts that I'll probably beat myself up over, but it was good overall."
Kennedy started the day with back-to-back birdies. While a couple of bogeys got in her way, she entered the back-nine with an even-par 36.
"I started off the morning really well," Kennedy said. "My putting was solid on the front nine. And I just stayed steady on the back nine the whole time."
Kennedy was one-under for the round going into the par-4 18th, but had a double bogey on what many golfers described as the toughest hole on the course.
"I struggled on 18," Kennedy said with a laugh. "I think my nerves started to kick in. I was one-under at 18 and I just blew up."
Kennedy hopes this year's trip to the First Round will be better than the previous one, where high winds and a tough course made for a less-than-desirable finish.
"Last year was tough for everybody," Kennedy said. "I'm hoping this year it won't be as tough and we can pull something out. We'll see what happens."
Kennedy will be joined by her teammates in Winchester for the State First Round, as Boyd County claimed the 12th Region team title by just one stroke over Montgomery County.
"It was an awesome day," Boyd County coach Missy Kennedy said. "We knew it would come down to putts and chips. Every stroke counts... we only won by one shot. Montgomery County has been right with us all season long. We've played with them a ton and we've just gone back and forth. Whether it was first or second, I'd be thrilled because we get to move on to State. I'm so proud of them."
The Hidden Cove Golf Course is Boyd County's home course. Missy Kennedy feels like it is a great course to prepare everybody for what they'll see down the line in State competition.
"In all my years of having Regions here, the scores tend to be a little higher," Missy Kennedy said. "I think it's one of the tougher courses in the Region rotation. The greens are super fast, but that's fine because if we're looking down the road at Bowling Green, that's what we'll be putting on. There were tough pin placements today, but I think our girls did great with it."
As coach, Kennedy hopes her team can find a way to get one of the top-two spots at the First Round event in order to solidify their spot in the Championship round.
"I'm hoping it's not as windy as last year," Missy Kennedy said. " It was so windy last year, it was probably the toughest day we've ever played. The course is tough, it's an old country club course. If it's not windy though, I think we'll play alright. The competition will be tough, but if we can kind of do our 'steady Eddie' thing like we did today, we could make it out of there as the third team that qualifies."
The top-two teams, Boyd County and Montgomery County, qualified for State as teams.
In addition, the 12th Region also sends the top-10 individuals to State. If a top-10 individual is part of a qualified team (IE Boyd County and Montgomery County) then the golfer with the next best finish outside of the top-10 qualifies.
Boyd County and Montgomery County each had two golfers with top-10 scores, meaning those in the top-14 qualified for the First Round.
Of note, Mason County had two golfers tied for 14th place, so the teammates had to compete against each other in a tiebreaking playoff hole, played on the par-4 17th.
Sydney Ullery won the tiebreaker and thus qualified for state. Her teammate Maura Hartman will be the first alternate if necessary.
The State Golf First Round is scheduled to begin on next Monday at the Winchester Country Club in Winchester, KY.
Boyd County 378*
Morgan Kennedy 73
Kristen Ramey 86
Jossy Pack 109
Anna Tague 110
Mia Brandenburg 119
Montgomery County 379*
Madison Easterling 74
Peyton Patrick 88
Kylie Brown 103
Ava Vanderhoof 114
Macy Whaley 115
Rowan County 385
Athena Singh 69*
Cadence Caskey 90*
Callie Baber 109
Alana Kidd 117
Kyndra Howard 128
Mason County 418
Sydney Ullery 100*
Maura Hartman 100
Morgan Parker 106
Bentley Shepherd 112
Taylor Schroer 132
Fleming County 435
Sadie Price 77*
Mallory Price 113
Presley Dowdy 116
Hanley High 129
Ariana Adams WD
Blakely Monte 110
Josie McGuire 116
Jacey Armstrong 118
Olivia Martin 118
Laney Sorrell 81*
Scarlett Adkins 120
Sophia Evans 123
Grier Campbell 133
Lewis County 470
Laira Kennedy 98*
Maddie Johnson 112
Laura Horsley 122
Mackayla Tackett 138
Peyton Riggs 146
Lawrence County 511
Kailey Prince 109
Abby Runyon 114
Taylor Blevins 132
Aubrey Brady 156
Lauren Sammons DQ
Abigail Gibson 126
Madison Kouns 136
Carly Fannin 137
Maddison Hampton 148
Ella Adkins 165
East Carter N/A
Emi Ledford 82*
Greenup County N/A
Cambria Burke 72*
Morgan County N/A
Carolina Keeton 113
St. Patrick N/A
Allie Cascio 130
Makenzie Markley 135
Alyssa Seip WD
West Carter N/A
Kenzie Kilgore 84*
Bristol Boggs 96*