By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
With experienced golfers returning this season, it could be a good year for the North Laurel golf team. Even a good team will be challenged against a strong competition in the region.
There are 11 golfers on the North Laurel team with six currently battling for the top five varsity spots. Although the top five spots are competitive, the top two spots are pretty solid with Kyle Jeffers and Barrett James.
“They are most of the time in the 70s,” North Laurel coach Jim Conway said. “The other three are capable of shooting in the 70s.”
Jeffers best traits as a golfer are his length and his ability to forget the bad shots.
“He’s all-around pretty good, but the thing that I think separates him from a lot of people is how far he hits it. Where he hits it, it takes some kids two shots to get to the same place,” Conway said. “He doesn’t get caught up if he has a bad hole. He’s able to move on and play the next hole.”
The short game is the best part of James’ game.
“Barrett doesn’t hit quite as far as Kyle, but he is really good around the greens. He’s able to save himself a lot of strokes around the green,” Conway said. “He’s another one that it doesn’t seem like things shake him too much.”
Competing for the other three tournament slots are Hunter North, Matt Nicely, Braxton Hicks, and Corey Philpot. North is the only junior of the group with the other three all sophomores.
While Jeffers and James are capable of competing against anyone in the region, it is a hurdle to win the region with a golfer like Clay County’s Chip McDaniel as your competition.
“Everybody right now is behind Chip McDaniel. He’s one of the best golfers not just in the state, but in the nation. He has shown what he is capable of doing,” Conway said.
Although McDaniel does have help at Clay County, it is the balance of the Corbin team that might make them a region favorite. Jackson County also has a solid group returning and South Laurel has a tournament win already.
“As a team we have just got to shoot our best,” Conway said. “We’ve got some good teams in our region.
Conway takes over as head coach for Scott George. Conway previously coached basketball at North Laurel. Conway also coached golf one season at Russell High School before turning to basketball coaching. His Russell team that won a region title and played into the second day of the state tournament.