Local teams compete in Region 10 tourney in Somerset


Chris Jones

Middlesboro’s Tyler Harris prepared for a putt in tournament action earlier this season. Harris won the Region 10 title on Tuesday in Somerset.

Harlan County and Harlan competed in the Region 10 Tournament on Tuesday at the Eagles Nest course in Somerset, ending the season.
Middlesboro’s Tyler Harris was the individual champion with an even-par 72. Pulaski County won the team title with a 309.
Harlan County placed 11th in team competition.
“Today, like too often this season, we simply couldn’t keep the big numbers off our cards and we didn’t take advantage of the scoring opportunities we had. When you have multiple double bogies or worse on your card you aren’t going to compete with these elite teams. But we are very young and the ceiling for my team is very high,” said HCHS coach Greg Lewis.
The Bears were led by eighth-grader Brayden Casolari with a 77. Casolari was only five strokes out of first place and missed qualifying for the state meet by one stroke.
“Brayden struck the ball very well. He is usually a very good putter but today he just missed some putts he normally makes. He missed qualifying for state by one shot. Again, we have to remember that he’s an eighth-grader. He’s got a lot of great golf coming for him over the next four years,” Lewis said.
Cole Cornett, a seventh-grader, was second for HCHS with a 90.
“Cole played in his first regional tournament and hit some very good shots,” Lewis said. “Like all the others, when he missed a shot it seems like it was in the worst possible place that hurt his scores. More than anything with scores, the experience of being out here playing was great for Cole. Going forward he will have a better understanding of what these events are, what to expect, and how to prepare for them.”
Matt Lewis was next for Harlan County with a 95.
“Matt had his best ball striking event of the year. He drove the ball incredibly well and hit his irons better than he has all year. He had a couple holes where he missed in penalty areas that hurt him. He’s getting comfortable with the changes he’s made to his swing so now he can get back to practicing the way he always has and not practicing swing changes,” Lewis said. “I look for Matt to have a great senior season next year.”
Alex Creech shot a 97 for the Bears.
“Alex again hit the ball very well. He made some great recovery shots when he did get into trouble and he thought his way around the course very well. The misses he had ended up in very difficult places. He had a tough front nine but played very well coming in,” Lewis said. “Alex is definitely a kid I’d love to have another month of matches for. He has really hit his stride and started playing well the last few weeks.”
Aiden Johnson led Harlan in regional competition as he finished with a 96.
“Aiden has progressed all year, earning him all-conference first-team honors. Yesterday just wasn’t his best day. He left a few shots short that he usually hits solid, which added strokes,” Harlan coach Jeremy Lee said. “Eagles Nest is a very tough course, especially playing from the one-tees. Nevertheless, I’m very proud of how well he’s done this year and he has a very bright future.”
Lewis is also excited about his team’s future, noting that everyone returns next season.
“When the season started I could never have imagined we would have had the success we have had this year. We bring back all of our top six players for next season. I believe we are ready to start a very successful run of quality golf in Harlan County. We are putting the clubs away for a while to let our bodies and minds rest and recover a bit,” he said. “Once we get our guys started on their off-season programs, I think they are going to come back next year really ready to play. They are all hungry for more success after experiencing winning this season and just coming up short a few times. I’ve said it before, but I love my team and I think the future is very bright for these young men.”