Casolari becomes first HC golfer to earns a trip to state competition with 11th place finish in sub-state tourney


Brayden Casolari

By John Henson, Managing Editor


Harlan County High School freshman Brayden Casolari will end his season where every high school golfer in Kentucky hopes to finish as he qualified for the state tournament with a strong showing Monday in the sub-state tournament in Winchester.
Casolari shot a four-over par 76 finish 11th overall, qualifying him for the state tournament on Oct. 4-5 at the Bowling Green Country Club. He is the first HC golfer in the 15-year history of the school to reach the state tourney
“I hit my tee shots well, and my approach shots to the green were good. I struggled with the putter on fast greens, but overall it was fair,” Casolari said. “I feel good. I made a goal for myself and knew where I had to be in order to make it and I did just that, allong with being the the first HC golfer to make it to state.”
“Brayden struck the ball extremely well today in very difficult conditions,” Harlan County coach Greg Lewis said. “The wind was gusting and blowing extremely hard through the biggest part of the round, but it never fazed him at all. He kept hitting great shot after great shot. Unfortunately, Brayden’s putter wasn’t as consistent as the rest of his game or he would have been in the running to win the tournament. He just had a hard time with the speed of the greens.”
Casolari is the first golfer from Harlan County to make it to state competition since Aaron Watkins represented Cawood High School around 2005.
“All of us in the athletic department and throughout the Harlan County High School family are elated for Brayden and his family,” HCHS athletic director Eugene Farmer said. “To be 14 years old and accomplish such a feat is nothing short of amazing. He works at his craft so hard and has built notoriety statewide with his game throughout his junior event schedule. He definitely has the game to go down there and win it, and I’m just so impressed with his composure and maturity at such a young age. He really is a prodigy.”
As the Pine Mountain Golf Conference champion, Casolari won four conference tournaments this fall in a dominating freshman season that also included a first-place finish in the Kentucky Farm Bureau Invitational.
“To keep his patience today with the tough conditions and not making putts is a testament to his growth as a player. It would have been very easy to get frustrated and try to force things, but he stuck to his game plan and achieved his goal of advancing to Bowling Green,” Lewis said. “We will get out and practice on Monday and get ready for the next 36 holes. As we discussed after the round today all it takes is having a hot putter at the right time and you never know what can happen. Brayden is as good as anyone out there. I like his chances of doing something special.”