Contributed Photo. Highlands junior Parker Harris takes a shot in a recent golf match. Harris won the Eighth Region tournament for the second straight year Monday.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
It took another playoff win.
But once again, Highlands junior Parker Harris stood up to the challenge to win the Eighth Region golf tournament for the second straight year at A.J. Jolly Golf Course in Alexandria on Monday. Harris and Bourbon County’s Sawyer Crossfield made an even-par 71 through 18 holes.
After both parring on the first hole, Crossfield bogeyed the next par-four hole. Harris clinched the victory with a chip and putt.
“I drove the ball really well and kept the ball in play, which is a key,” Harris said. “I made a couple putts early and was able to hold it together the rest of the day. I’m just trying to carry on what we’ve had here and hopefully, there are guys behind me that can keep it going.”
Matt Neal is in his first year as head coach of the Highlands golf team. But Neal has watched Harris golf at Highlands Country Club.
“I’ve been around the game of golf for a long time and Parker has as much if not more pure talent than anyone I've come across,” Neal said. “Combine that with his natural competitive instinct and a great family cheering him on and you have the recipe for a great player. Parker has the talent to go as far as he wants in the game of golf, and I’m excited to see his career unfold.”
Highlands finished fifth in the region as a team. Boone County won the tournament and Mason County finished runner-up to qualify for the state tournament. The Bluebirds hoped to contend for a state bid, but senior golfer Jackson Bardo dislocated his shoulder in Saturday’s 42-6 football win over Covington Catholic.
The state tournament takes place at the Bowling Green Country Club on Oct, 7-9. Harris hopes to improve on last year’s performance. He did not make the cut after the first day.
“It’s a really tough course so you have to drive the ball well,” Harris said. “You have to keep it in the fairway because the roughs are thick. You then hope to make a bunch of putts.”
Newport Central Catholic’s Drew McDonald and Luke Holtz also qualified for state shooting 74s. The Thoroughbreds took third in the tournament for the second straight year.