SOMERSET – The Tigers fell to Wayne County in the 13th regional tournament at Eagles Nest Country Club in Somerset. Wayne fired a 292, while Clay posted a 296 in the event. “We came out and played very well,” said Tiger Coach Jason Smith. “The boys had a goal of breaking 300 and they shot the 296. This is the lowest regional score in school history.” 

Smith voiced his displeasure with a KHSAA rule change that effectively ousted the Tigers from competing at the state tournament as a team, instead only sending three individuals. “It’s truly a shame that the rule change by KHSAA is preventing the team from going to the state tournament,” said Smith. “Justin Begley had a great day shooting a 1-under par 70. He was defeated in a playoff to finish as the runner-up in the region as an individual, an awesome accomplishment as a sophomore.”

Tiger standout C.J. Corum played very well said Smith. “C.J. had a great day,” he said. “He got it under par a few times, but let a few shots slip away late in the round. A 72 is a solid round, and he will have a lot of colleges knocking on his door soon enough.”

Harley Davidson qualified for the state tournament along with Begley, posting a 77. “Harley had a huge day,” said Smith. “In his first ever regional tournament he qualified for the state tournament. He had one of the best freshman years that I’ve personally ever seen. He finished the day with a 77 and mage a huge out in the first hole playoff to qualify.”

Seniors Chase Campbell and Jakob Begley failed to qualify for the state tournament, but both stepped up huge all season long for the Tigers. “Chase was big for us in the region,” said Smith. “He finished with a 77, however was knocked out of the state on the second playoff hole. He played fantastic. Thru 15 holes he was +3 and picked up a double bogey, but he kept a cool head and finished strong. I was so proud of him.”

Jakob, the elder Begley brother, fired a 79 to close his career. “He has so much heart,” said Smith. “He got off to a rough start with an opening round 43. It would have been easy for him to give up, but he kept battling and was able to turn in a strong 79. He ended up missing the playoff for state by two shots, but that doesn’t show the heart he put into his back nine holes on Tuesday. I am so proud of him, and the way he fought back.”

The amount of success attained by this team has been nothing short of amazing. This is undoubtedly one of the most successful teams in school history. “We didn’t win the region but for the third time in school history we were able to be the runner up in the region, which is a great accomplishment,” said Smith. “This team is the greatest golf team in school history. They finished the year with four wins, five seconds and top 10 finish in the all state championship. They got as high as number two in the state in rankings and have three kids in the top 25 in all state rankings.”

This team also broke its fair share of records. “We broke the school record with a score of 296,” said Smith. “If you name it these boys done it. Because of what these guys have accomplished I have 4th and 5th graders chomping at the bit to get started golfing. My returning J.V. players like Reese Nolan, Brandin Crawford, and Jaxon Hooker are looking forward to the challenge of stepping in next year and continuing this success. This program and the future of it owes so much to this group.”

As for the three Tigers who qualified for the state tournament, Smith believes they will do just fine and handle the pressure well.  “Justin, Harley, and C.J. are going to have a great time at the state tournament,” he said. “As underclassman this is going be a great experience for them and an opportunity to play in front of some college coaches. The boys will battle some nervousness like they’ve never felt before but I’m going encourage them to take it all in and enjoy every second of it. There will be a cut after day one for the individuals but if our guys can play well they definitely have a great shot of playing the second day at state.”

The boy’s state golf tournament will get underway Thursday with a practice round with round one starting on Friday at the Bowling Green Country Club.

Justin Begley will tee off first for the Tigers at 8:48 a.m.

Harley Davidson will follow at 12:33 p.m.  with C.J. Corum teeing off at 1 p.m.

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