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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Highlands Golf Teams Take Dual Wins

Bluebirds Faced Colonels in Dual For First Time Since 2007

Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore Aly Welch moves on to the next hole during the dual match against Bishop Brossart on Monday. (Img; G. Michael Graham)

By G. Michael Graham
The Highlands Bluebirds golf teams earned sound dual match wins over Northern Kentucky rivals on their home course Monday.

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The Highlands boys defeated the Covington Catholic Colonels, 153-173 in their first dual match since 2007 at Highland Country Club before the Highlands girls took down Bishop Brossart Lady 'Stangs, 191-218. That marked the first dual match of the season for the Highlands boys.

The Highlands girls have played two dual matches in under two weeks against Bishop Brossart. The Bluebirds also beat the Lady 'Stangs on Aug. 12, 204-210 at AJ Jolly Golf Course in Alexandria.

"I think for our first time with a match here, they did fairly well," said Mike Lipscomb, Highlands girls head coach. "We definitely could have kept our heads in it a little better toward the end. It was a good learning experience for them for how they need to play the course. In our next couple matches here, we'll know what we need to do."

The two Highlands seniors in Luke Muller and Justin Gabbard put the Bluebirds up 14 strokes. Muller shot a two-under 33 on the par 35 course and Gabbard finished two over at 35. Muller had two birdies (one under par).

"It's always good when you have seniors that are really experienced and they're both (NCAA) Division I golfers," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "The other two kids did really well in their match-ups. That's why we won by 20."

Highland Country Club has its fair share of challenges. That includes hills.

"I hit most of the greens so I read some good putts. I made a couple putts, missed a couple, but that's golf. I didn't have any bogeys (one over par), which was pretty nice. I just kept it around the hole. If I missed, I always made par. That's always the goal."

Highlands sophomore Joel Craft and eighth grader Hank Shick rounded out the scoring. Craft shot 41 and Shick had a 42. The Bluebirds did have to battle the wind some.

"Being up top on the hill here, the wind can get pretty intense," Craft said. "It wasn't as bad as it can get, but for the new kids coming here, it can be tough to play. You just have to be able to keep the ball down, especially on the six and seven (holes) and the four and five going into the wind because those holes are already long in general. When you put the wind on top of them, it makes them even longer."

Freshman Ryan Toole and senior Isaiah Lampkin also golfed in the match. Toole shot 47 and Lampkin fired a 49.




"I like to give a lot of kids a lot of opportunities so we can get comparable scores and figure out what the best combination will be at the end of the year," Richey said. "If you're on the team, you're going to play multiple events. I think so far everyone has played in at least four or five events."

Highlands played the last couple weeks without junior Jack Schneider, who has been key in helping the Bluebirds to five tournament wins this year. But he is expected to return Saturday.

The Bluebirds play in the St. Elizabeth Highlands Invitational at The Willows Golf Course in Independence on Saturday. Tee time is 6:45 a.m.

Senior Ellie Rowland earned medalist honors for the Highlands girls. She shot a 40. Junior KJ Toole shot 43.

"What we really try to do is focus on the short game more than anything because that's where you can make up the most strokes even though it's such a small part of the game," Rowland said. "I try to envision the shot I want to hit before I hit the ball. Envisioning it obviously won't make it happen. The confidence is what really helps with that. But envisioning it helps you shoot the best shot you can."

Lipscomb has been working with the younger golfers trying to get their scores lower to help the team become more competitive in tournaments. Freshman Bailey Markus shot 49.

Eighth grader Jenna Richey and sophomore Aly Welch shot 59 to round out the scoring. A goal for some of the younger golfers has been double bogeys (two over par) on each hole.

"We work together a lot as a team so that helps a lot," Jenna Richey said. "(It's about) taking the safe shot and not trying to get it on the green in two (shots) on par fives."

The Highlands girls also play in the Highlands Invitational at the Willows on Saturday. Tee time is 7 a.m.

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