OLIVE HILL —
West Carter senior Kyle Brown is taking the route of the fairway rather than driving any basketball lanes.
The two-sport Comets star had his options, but he said golf at Morehead State University was the most logical choice. West Carter held a signing ceremony for Brown on Friday morning in the high school library.
“Morehead State just seems right,” Brown said Friday night after completing a leisurely round at Eagle Trace Golf Course in Morehead. “That’s where my mom and dad went, and all three of my sisters went. That played a factor. But the big factor is money.”
Brown is essentially a preferred walk-on, as he will likely redshirt his freshman season at MSU before having a chance to earn a scholarship later on. He has earned some academic scholarship money.
The owner of a slew of school basketball records, Brown enjoyed a fantastic senior season on the hardwood. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 23 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, and became the Comets’ all-time leading scorer with 1,917 career points.
Schools interested in Brown’s basketball ability were, among others, Transylvania, Shawnee State, Pikeville and Kentucky Christian.
Still, the future is brighter on the golf course, said Brown.
“I knew I would be up against guys who are taller and faster than me,” Brown said of the prospect of college basketball. “Golf can take me further.”
Brown finished his senior golf season on a strong note. He shot a 73 at Grayson Lake’s Hidden Cove Golf Course to finish third individually. He qualified for the state tournament for the first time in his career.
Brown was an All “A” state qualifier in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He also won the Eastern Kentucky Conference Tournament three times in his career.
A varsity player since seventh grade, Brown said he’s seen the most improvement in the tee box.
“I’m just making better contact, hitting the ball a lot farther than I used to,” Brown said. “That’s just me getting bigger and stronger.”
Brown averages close to 280 yards a drive.
While his short game has improved, he’d like to see more consistency on the putting surface.
Brown isn’t eligible to play on the Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association this coming summer due to his age, but he made his mark over the last few years on the tour. He won a handful of EKJGA events.
One of the most dramatic EKJGA finishes came at Bellefonte Country Club last July. Even though he lost in a playoff to Jeffrey Meade, Brown recalls it fondly.
“I love going into a playoff,” Brown said. “It’s my favorite thing. You come into the clubhouse thinking you’ve got the best score, then somebody comes in behind you with the same. Then, everybody heads to the tee box to watch.”
Brown grew up on the golf course alongside his late father, John “Hop,” who is an area basketball coaching legend but also coached golf.
“Ever since I could walk, he would take me out there with him,” Brown said.
Brown is following the footsteps of former West Carter teammate Matt Logan to Morehead State. Logan is currently a senior golfer at MSU along with former Elliott County golfer Jared Flanery.
Brown and Logan regularly golf together, and it’s rarely just for fun.
“He’s a competitor,” Brown said with a laugh. “I thought I was a competitor until I played with him.”
Last summer, Brown nailed a hole-in-one at Eagle Trace, his future home golf course. It was so dark that they could barely see their hands in front of him, he remembered, so he didn’t see the ball sink into the cup on No. 16.
“Matt found the ball in the hole,” Brown said. “I thought he was joking when he told me.”
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.