GRAYSON LAKE Neither Greenup County nor West Carter’s girls golf coaches knew for sure if they would be able to field full teams this fall.
The Lady Musketeers and Lady Comets were out in full force on Tuesday at Hidden Cove Golf Course — with enough to tie for the Eastern Kentucky Conference Tournament championship.
Greenup County and West Carter carded collective 195s in nine-hole play at Hidden Cove Golf Course.
“I am so proud of our girls,” Greenup County coach Kacey Carver said. “At the start of the season, I expected to have three girls, two of which had only played for about a year. We had four more come out that have only been playing for a month. We’ve been playing non-stop since the end of June, and they’ve all improved so much.”
West Carter was in a similar spot.
“We started the season not even sure that we would have enough girls to have a team,” Lady Comets coach Terrell Webb said. “Our fourth player that made us a team (Tuesday), she’s only been playing three weeks.”
That player — Kara Jordan — came up with the par on the final hole that lifted West Carter into a tie with Greenup County, which had already finished its round.
“She had only had one par and one birdie since she started playing, and I knew she needed to go 1-over in the last two holes,” Webb said. “And she bogeyed hole 8 and I knew she needed a par for us to tie, and she did not know where we stood and she managed to get that par. That was really exciting.”
Webb believes that to be West Carter’s first girls golf EKC title, he said. Greenup County posted its best round of the season by about seven shots, Carver said, but she didn’t know the Lady Musketeers were the team to beat.
Carver hung around even after most of the Lady Musketeers — multi-sport athletes who also play soccer and volleyball — had left to go make it to those contests to keep an eye on how the individual race played out, knowing Cambria Burke was in contention at the top.
Burke tied Boyd County’s Morgan Kennedy for medalist honors with a 38 — joining her team as a champion.
“When they announced our name, we were genuinely shocked,” Carver said. “There’s no (cell) service out at Grayson (Lake), so I literally couldn’t wait to find some service and let everyone know as soon as I could. They were all thrilled, and I think it was a major confidence booster for them, and a little affirmation that their hard work is paying off.”
It was the first time Burke finished a tournament atop the leaderboard.
“It felt good to get my first tournament win,” Burke said, “and it felt even greater to get our first tournament win as a team.”
Kennedy made up for what she said was a tough day off the tee with her work on the fairways and greens.
“I didn’t really hit the ball how I wanted to,” she said, “but my short game was, like, awesome. I got a lot of up-and-downs and I made a lot of two-putts, and that really saved me.”
Kennedy is growing into a leadership role at Boyd County before even walking the high school’s halls, with state champion Olivia Hensley and steadying influence Emily Brown having graduated from last year’s team.
“I think it’s hard for a lot of people to believe that Morgan is only an eighth-grader, and that’s probably a lot to put on her shoulders,” Kennedy’s mom and coach, Missy, said. “Morgan’s just gonna play her game and try to help our team. We have a lot of rebuilding to do ... (former coach) Scott (Hensley) set the bar pretty high for us.
“But we picked up some other girls this year, and we’ve had a lot of interest for next year too. I think we might have something special in a couple more years here.”
Bre Boggs paced West Carter with a 39 to finish third overall. She had two putts lip out, Webb said, to illustrate how close she was to the top two.
Russell’s Tessa Leibee (40) and Rowan County’s Sara Shay (44) rounded out the top five.
Neither Kennedy and Burke nor Greenup County and West Carter were able to break their ties because KHSAA COVID-19 rules prohibit playoffs, Missy Kennedy said.
“It was funny, (Burke and Morgan Kennedy) both had that stressed-out look like, oh gosh, are we gonna have to go play it?” Missy Kennedy said. “And they said, ‘No, you all get to share it, it’s all good.’ They were very, very happy about that, I think.”
Boyd County shot a 198 to finish third. Nicholas County carded a 210 and East Carter posted a 216.