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Friday, September 4, 2020

Toole Accomplishes Huge Feat for Highlands Girls Golf

Bluebirds Record Best Finish in Tournament This Season

Highlands junior KJ Toole ponders her next shot in a recent tournament. Toole became the first Highlands girls golf player to win a tournament in a while winning the Highlands Invitational on Saturday shooting a 73 out of 85 golfer.

By G. Michael Graham

It had not been done in a while but the huge breakthrough Saturday is one the Highlands Bluebirds girls golf team knows is a huge one. Going forward, the team hopes to have many more highlights like this throughout the rest of the season.

Junior KJ Toole won the Highlands Invitational on Saturday at the Pioneer Golf Course in Independence. She shot a 73 on the par 71 course.

"Saturday was just a good day," Toole said. "I was hitting fairways off the tee. I was hitting greens on my approach shots. That made it easy to putt for pars or get good looks at birdies. I was striking the ball well."

Toole had finished tied for second in another tournament on Aug. 6 at Hickory Sticks Golf Course in California (Kentucky) in the Beechwood Invitational. She finished third in the Highlands Invitational the day before shooting 73.

"KJ has worked a lot in the off-season," said Mike Lipscomb, third-year Highlands Girls Golf Head Coach. "She's always been very, very talented, but everything's finally starting to click. She's really kind of honed in on her short game and really got her driver figured out, which I feel is her biggest asset. I see big things in the future for KJ if she continues to work as hard as she has been at golf. She'd been scoring really well. I'm just so excited she was able to put it all together and be able to win the tournament."

Toole beat out some tough competition to win the tournament. That included sophomore Madison Borders from Thomas Nelson located in Bardstown. Borders is ranked in the top five in the Kentucky Girls Golf All-State standings. The tournament saw 85 golfers participate.

"When my coach called me and told me I'd won, I kind of just laughed," Toole said. "I was just excited. It was really exciting to finally see all the hard work I've put in pay off. It's very cool."
Toole did not have any eagle (two-under par holes) holes. But she did have three birdies (one-under) on the front nine holes out of 18 holes.

"My course management has definitely improved thinking about minimizing damage if I have a bad shot," Toole said. "That has definitely helped me post lower scores recently. That course doesn't play very long, especially from the women's tee. It's fairly open. I can't always hit a driver. I sometimes have to take an iron (club) off the tee."

Highlands saw its best finish as a team finishing fourth out of 14 teams shooting a 365. Senior Ellie Rowland shot 82 continuing her consistent play. Eighth grader Jenna Richey continued her improvement with a 100 and freshman Bailey Markus finished the scoring with 110.

Highlands defeated six teams from the northern three counties in Kentucky including Bishop Brossart, Dixie Heights, Notre Dame and Villa Madonna. The Bluebirds have beaten Bishop Brossart in their two lone dual meets.

The Bluebirds play Cooper on Sept. 8 at Highlands Country Club. Tee time is 3:45 p.m.

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