Gallery by Heather Belcher
Wyoming East, Westside and Shady Spring all hail from Region 3 and have accounted for four of the last five Class AA state golf championships.
Now there is a new kid in town that is creating a stir in the Class AA Region 3 golf hierarchy.
A year ago, Herbert Hoover was added to the mix in Region 3 and the Huskies have quickly made it known they are also ready to contend for a state championship.
Monday afternoon, Herbert Hoover battled Shady Spring, Westside and Liberty in a regular season golf match at Grandview Country Club.
Playing on the same course where next week’s Region 3 tournament will be contested, the Huskies looked more than ready to make a return trip to the state tournament in two weeks.
Combining for a three-person team total of 110, Herbert Hoover walked away with an eight-shot win over second place Shady Spring (118).
Westside was next at 127 and Liberty finished with 176.
“We had a young team last year and we have everybody back this year,” Herbert Hoover head coach Eddie Gray said. “We do have some expectations, but we don’t want that to get in the way of things. We still have to go out and do what we need to do and perform. There are some really good teams in this region.”
The Huskies were led by senior Bryson Beaver who shot a 1-under par round of 35, while juniors Max Bowen shot even par 36 and Sawyer Osbourn carded a 39.
Shady Spring junior, Tanner Vest was the low medalist for the day shooting a 2-under par round of 34.
“I have been working really hard on the putting and my putts have been falling,” Vest said. “Putting was the strong suit of my game today.”
After making birdie on the first hole, Vest backed that up by draining a long birdie putt on the difficult second hole.
“I made a realty good putt there,” Vest said. “I had a good read on it, and I knew it would go in. It’s not an easy green and I had to play a lot of break there.”
The biggest putt of the round by the junior standout came on the long par-4, 5th hole which has trees on both sides and water to the left of the green. Stymied behind a tree off his tee shot, Vest was left with a dilemma on his second shot.
“Five goes back to my driver issues a little bit. I wanted to play smart, and I knew a par would take me a long way because it’s a really hard hole,” Vest said. I knew if I played it smart, more often than not, I was making par there.”
After playing the ball safely back into the fairway, Vest knocked his third shot within 20 feet of the hole and rolled the putt in for his par.
His best shot of the day came on the next hole when Vest nearly holed-out from the fairway for an eagle. The kick-in birdie and one bogey on the way in was good enough for low round of the day.
Reigning WV Girls Jr. Amateur champion, Kerri-Ann Cook continued her strong play with an even par round of 36 Monday to lead Westside.
“I was hitting the ball pretty good today and I putted OK. I felt like I let a few putts get by,” Cook said. “Overall, I hit it pretty good.”
Cook capped her round by firing a dart on the par-3, 9th hole and sinking the short birdie try. Cook’s stellar shot came after a club change at the tee box.
“The yardages seem to be good numbers for me and good for my eye, Cook said of the par-3 holes at Grandview. “I had a 5-hybrid, but I changed to a 6-iron when the wind kinda picked up behind me as I was about to hit.”
After his team earned one of the two team qualifying spots in last year’s state tournament from Region 3, the Huskies strong play Monday comes as no surprise to Gray.
“The kids have really put in the work over the summer. They play the Callaway (Tour) events, and they play the U.S. Kids Tour,” Gray explained. “They got a little taste last year and they got hungry for this year. We are having some success because of that.”
“We played the Capital City Classic and I think we finished tied for fourth, but we were the No. 1 AA team in the field,” Gray went on to say. “We went to Parkersburg and tied for maybe fourth or fifth up there and there were only AAA teams ahead of us. We had some early success, and we have kinda carried it over a little bit.”