GIRLS' PREP GOLF: Rain plays havoc with opening round at State (10/8)

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By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com BOWLING GREEN — The first round of the Leachman Buick-Pontiac-GMC/KHSAA Girls’ State Golf Championships was wrecked by Mother Nature, so it only makes sense Raine – as in Elizabethtown senior Paige Raine — would thrive in such conditions. Raine fired a 10-over par 82 on Tuesday afternoon at Bowling Green Country Club to put her in a fourth-place tie among players which finished their rounds. “I don’t know what it is,” Raine said of her play in the wet conditions. “I know I have to pull it together and try to stay dry. I have to make good shots. It seems to work for me.” Raine was one of the select few that the weather change actually helped. The tournament was delayed more than four hours due to heavy rain and lightning during the morning session. Once play resumed, only 82 players were able to complete their rounds. Paintsville junior Katy Humphrey and Hopkins County Central junior Ashleigh Howerton share the clubhouse lead at 8-over par. Seventy-two players were unable to finish their rounds with a majority of the groups only playing a handful of holes after play was suspended at 7:15 due to darkness. That was the case for North Hardin’s Lydia Gumm, who was supposed to tee off at 2:24 but didn’t hit her first shot until five hours later. Gumm played just two holes as she bogeyed each one. “It was a weird day,” Gumm said. “I mean starting when it’s starting to get dark. I don’t think I’ve done that before. I started bad, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s a brand new day.” It also could be a long day. Play will resume at 8:45 a.m. today with players completing round one. At approximately noon, the cut will be announced with the top 11 teams and top 20 individuals not on those teams advancing to the second round, which will begin at 12:45 p.m. In the event the first round is completed and the second round is not completed in its entirety, the tournament champion will be decided by the first 18 holes. More rain is expected in Bowling Green today. “That’s going to be a really long day,” Gumm said. “It’s important I refocus. I need to find my swing and trust it. But it’s going to be long.” The good news for Raine is her 82 should be good enough to get her to the second round if there is one. After an 8-over on the front nine, Raine rebounded with seven pars and two bogeys on the backside. “It started raining and I knew I had to stay focused,” Raine said. “I knew I had to pull it together because this was my last chance to shine. I had an 83 last year and I made the cut. But it will still be nerve-racking.” Raine’s teammate, junior Kayla Kincer, fired a 14-over par 86, which was a solid round considering she didn’t even know if she’d play after being hospitalized after last week’s 3rd Region Tournament. Last year, Kincer made the cut after an opening round 79. “It’s nothing like last year,” Kincer said. “I had all the confidence in the world last year. You never know. I made a lot of stupid mistakes. I want to play badly tomorrow, because it’s been a hard year for me.” Unlike Raine, Kincer struggled once play resumed. She closed her round with five consecutive bogeys. “You are on a roll and you’re in golf-mode,” Kincer said. “You have a break and you’re not concentrating and you’re goofing off. It was so much different when we started back. It was really hard to get a clean shot and the putts … it was a tough day.” Elizabethtown is still in team contention to make the cut as well as the Lady Panthers had a team score of 377. Junior Taylor Mays carded a 100 followed by senior Taylor Shaw’s 109 and senior Olivia McMillen’s 113. Central Hardin’s streak of making five consecutive cuts will come to an end. The Lady Bruins were in 18th place out of 22 teams with a score of 408. Junior Caitlyn Wilkerson, who is tied for 16th, had a 19-over par 91. Eighth-grader Amanda Smith had a 101 followed by senior Casey Booker’s 105, sophomore Ashley Puckett’s 111 and senior Caitlin Strothoff’s 143. “We shot better than we did at the BGIT (Bowling Green Invitational Tournament),” Central Hardin coach Chris Adams said. “Casey was sick and throwing up and had one of the most courageous rounds of all time. Caitlyn battled; she had a couple of bad holes. They all battled. I’m proud of all of them.” Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759