BELLEFONTE “A lot of hardware there,” Scott Hensley said, looking down at the two transparent tear-shaped first-place trophies he held, one in each hand. “A lot of hardware.”
Boyd County’s girls golf coach is used to seeing his daughter and ace, Lady Lions senior Olivia Hensley, win Ashland Invitational individual honors. On Monday at Bellefonte Country Club, the rest of Boyd County’s team joined her.
The Lady Lions won the tournament for the first time in its ninth running on Monday evening, carding a collective 374 to top second-place Grant County by 11 shots and host Ashland by 22.
Hensley was the Ashland Invitational medalist for the fourth consecutive year with a tournament-record 71.
“It was a lot of pressure because people were like, ‘You gonna win this again?’” she said with a grin. “It’s gonna be the same way with region too.”
Hensley indeed will carry the mantle of back-to-back-to-back region champion into postseason play in a couple of months. Last year, Boyd County was also region team titlist for the first time in school history, beating Ashland by 28 shots.
It was more of the same Monday.
“We’ve gotta get more competitive with Boyd because we’re 25, 26 strokes off right now,” Tee Cats coach Mark Hanni said. “We’ve gotta improve on that quite a bit to have a chance to go (to State) as a team.”
Boyd County and Ashland both advanced to Bowling Green Country Club last year. That won’t happen this fall — only region champions will qualify for State after the KHSAA changed the format this offseason.
On Monday, Emily Brown carded a 98, Adie Caldwell compiled a 102 and Morgan Kennedy shot a 103 to help Boyd County edge Grant County.
The Lady Braves’ Maddi Hudson shot a 76 for second place, beating Ashland’s Kate Hanni’s 76 in a scorecard playoff.
But no other Grant County player shot below triple digits.
“Our girls have really, really worked hard all offseason,” Scott Hensley said. “All of them have cut a lot of strokes. ... They did a good job on the little things. Every stroke counts, that’s kind of our motto this year.”
Olivia Hensley called winning the team title “10 times more special” than just taking individual honors.
“This was one of our big goals that we were working towards,” she said, “and to achieve it is just great.”
Concurred Brown: “It makes us feel awesome going into this week. We have jam-packed tournaments all week, so it’s just a good way to start off the week.”
Boyd County was fifth at Villa Madonna and “middle of the pack,” its coach said, at Shelby County in the two tournaments it had played before Monday.
“We’re averaging right around a 365,” Scott Hensley said. “We’re hanging in there. I knew we’d be a little elevated here. It’s a tough course to play.”
His daughter didn’t have much trouble with it. She was within striking distance of the 69 she posted at Bellefonte Country Club during a round in the Bluegrass Junior over the summer.
“I knew I could do really well here if I just stuck to my game and played strong,” Olivia Hensley said. “Usually courses around here, the greens are a lot slower, so getting used to these greens (has been beneficial). It’s just a really nice course, and being able to play on it has helped my game in so many ways.”
Brown said her approach shots were the strongest part of her game on Monday, helping her make up for what she called less consistent drives than usual.
“It helps a lot just to know the direction that the greens are,” Brown said. “Even though the holes are very close together, you kinda know which way you’re going. It helps a lot just to know if it doglegs right or left or if you need to club up or club down.”
Carly Cullop shot a 92 and Langley Sebastian posted a 98 for Ashland.
“We have a couple kids that are starting to play better,” Mark Hanni said. “That’s been fun to see this year. We just need to keep playing and improving each week. We’ll have a chance to get some kids to State. We’ve just gotta keep advancing their games a little bit.”
Paintsville’s Isabella Christy was fourth individually with a 78. Hannah Shrout of Fairland rounded out the top five by shooting 80.
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1. Boyd County (374) — Olivia Hensley 71, Emily Brown 98, Morgan Kennedy 103, Adie Caldwell 102, Kristen Ramey 128.
2. Grant County (385) — Maddi Hudson 76, Victoria Comacho 100, Lydia Smith 104, Laura Tatum 105, Anna Slaughter 109, Jade Meeks 128.
3. Ashland (396) — Kate Hanni 76, Carly Cullop 92, Langley Sebastian 98, Tori Brown 130.
Individuals (no team score) — Isabella Christy (Paintsville) 78, Hannah Shrout (Fairland) 80, Brook Hopkins (Pulaski County) 88, Sophia Beverly (Shelby Valley) 89, Tessa Leibee (Russell) 91, Anna New (Pulaski County) 94, Morgan Farmer (Morgan County) 95, Bre Boggs (West Carter) 101, Addi Speed (Fairland) 113, Cambria Burke (Greenup County) 116, Amelia Brown (Montgomery County) 121, Laney Sexton (Raceland) 121, Hallie Ruckel (Lewis County) 122, Madison Black (Montgomery County) 123, Darby Chapman (Lawrence County) 127, Laira Kennedy (Lewis County) 128, Jenna Ratliff (Morgan County) 128, Kylie Brown (Montgomery County) 134, Malli Williams (Fairland) 139.