Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Bluebirds Bring Home Gold in Highlands Invitational

Highlands Wins Third Tournament of Young Season

Twitter Photo. The Highlands boys golf team won the inaugural Highlands Invitational on Wednesday shooting a 294.
The first Highlands Invitational by Ortho Cincy belonged to the hosts.

The Highlands boys golf team won the tournament shooting a 294 at AJ Jolly Golf Course on Wednesday in Alexandria for its third tournament win in four tournaments this year. Highlands did not have any tournament wins in Head Coach Bert Richey's first two seasons.

Highlands finished third in the Northern Kentucky Tournament on Sunday behind Region 8 opponents Mason County and Grant County. But the Bluebirds finished ahead of Grant County (300) and Mason County (309) on Wednesday. A total of 14 teams and 73 golfers participated in the tournament.

The Highlands dynamic duo of Justin Gabbard and Luke Muller set the tone combining for a five-under par performance. Gabbard shot a 66 to earn medalist honors and Muller fired a 71 on the par-71 course good for third place.

"This is the site of the regional tournament course so it was good for our guys' confidence to go out and put a good number on the board against a lot of the region teams we'll face on Sept. 25, which is a long way away," Richey said. "We played really well. Anytime your top two players are able to combine for a five-under. It typically sets up well for the rest of your team to be successful."

Senior Ryan Leigh returned to the line-up and shot a 79 to put the four scorers in the 70s and lower. Eighth grader Joel Craft shot a 78. Senior Brady Walz had an 84 for the Bluebirds.

"We came close to winning a lot last year," Leigh said. "But this year, we expect to win. It gives us a lot more confidence this year."

Richey credited the sponsors who made the event happen including Fort Thomas Matters.

"This is the first tournament I've ever run and it is unbelievable the amount of resources you have to have to put on the tournament we put on," Richey said. "It's called a Tier 1 tournament. It's the largest grouping of a tournament you can put on. Anything above 73 players is considered to be a Tier 1 tournament. Without all these sponsors, we would not be able to put on the tournament we were able to put on."

Highlands plays in the Beechwood Invitational at Twin Bridges in California (Kentucky) on Thursday. Tee time is 8:30 a.m.

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