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Despite the high school season being over and the cold temperatures, Elizabethtown sophomore Lauren Hartlage was at the driving range hitting countless balls Saturday afternoon.
It’s that drive and determination which has helped Hartlage become one of the top players in the state. She had a solid freshman campaign and followed it up with an outstanding season.
For her efforts, Hartlage was named to the Kentucky All-State Team. Players earn points throughout the season in invitational tournaments, the region tournament and the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Championship. Hartlage totaled 75.5 points to finish fourth.
“It means a lot,” she said. “It shows all the hard work and effort pays off. All the work we put in as a team and individually helped me. It’s a really great honor to be a part of the All-State team.”
Hartlage won at Glasgow and Nelson County and then shot a 1-under-par 71 to claim the 3rd Region championship. She had three third-place finishes and came in fourth twice. Her worst finish in any 18-hole tournament was eighth. Hartlage also won the Hardin County Cup.
In the state tournament at Bowling Green Country Club, Hartlage fired a 1-under 71 in the first round, but she had a 78 the second day to end up in sixth place.
“It was a great, great season,” Elizabethtown coach Kim Hartlage said. “From the beginning, we didn’t talk too much about individual goals. We talked more about team goals. But she had some things she wanted to accomplish. She wanted to make All-State and she wanted to finish in the top five at State.
“It’s a very rewarding thing to see her accomplish one of her goals,” she added. “This fall we played against all the top teams and top players. We played a pretty strong schedule. From a consistency standpoint, she was a strong leader for us.”
Hartlage shaved nearly five strokes off her scoring average from last season. Kim said Hartlage worked with fitness instructor Beverly Ivey where she picked up core strength and club head speed.
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger and I added length,” Hartlage said. “I worked a lot on my short game. It definitely helps when you can hit it longer and then have accuracy to go after pins with your irons. That gives you opportunities for birdies if you make putts, so that’s a great advantage.”
Scott County senior Billy Tom Sargent was named Mr. Golf, while Louisville Sacred Heart junior Maddie Hamilton earned Miss Golf honors.
The top 10 players and their coaches will be honored at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville on Nov. 10 at a banquet sponsored by the Musselman-Dunne and the KY PGA Junior Golf Tours.
Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.