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Talented group of high school golfers ready to begin only fall sport not delayed by pandemic

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Golf is the only high school fall sport that didn’t have its season sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic and Northern Kentucky will have several top-notch players competing on the links starting on Friday.

Nine of the top 10 scorers in the last year’s Region 7 boys tournament are back, including defending champion Rylan Wotherspoon of Cooper. On the girls side, eight of the region’s top 10 finishers are returning and three of them played on Notre Dame’s championship team.

Cooper golfer Rylan Wotherspoon won last year’s Region 7 boys championship. (Photo provided)

Wotherspoon, who will be going into his junior year, had a very successful summer that began with him winning the Greater Cincinnati Junior Met by six strokes with a two-day total of 4-under 140. He also finished among the top 40 at a national junior tournament in Alabama and lost in a playoff for the Kentucky Junior Amateur championship after shooting 7-under 137 over two rounds. 

Last year, Wotherspoon shot a 68 to win the Region 7 boys tournament and Covington Catholic took the team title with Dominic Paterno placing second and Ian Asch placing eighth.

Both of those CovCath golfers are returning. This summer, Asch tied for fifth place in the Kentucky Junior Amateur with a 4-under 140 and coach Alex Ammerman expects him to be the Colonels’ team leader this fall.

The other golfers who placed among the top five in last year’s regional were Mason and Ryan Butler of St. Henry and Chris Harpum of Ryle. All three of them are also back this season. 

Ryan Butler was the only local golfer who finished among the top 20 in last year’s  state tournament. He tied for 17th place with an 8-over 152 total. Wotherspoon was one stroke behind him and tied for 22nd place.

Notre Dame will be defending the Region 7 girls team title with a lineup that includes Clare Hooper, Emma Meyer and Hannah Rice. They placed second, fifth and sixth in last year’s regional tournament. But Notre Dame coach Karen Henderson said Hooper and Rice are both recovering from injuries and hopes to have them back by Sept. 1. 

The top three golfers on the Cooper girls team that was regional runner-up – Eva Maley, Reagan Ramage and Kendall Brissey – are also returning. All three of them were in junior high school last season.

Highlands competes in Region 8 and the boys and girls teams both have a pair of  individual state qualifiers back. The girls are Ellie Rowland and KJ Toole. The boys are Justin Gabbard and Luke Muller.

Gabbard tied for 22nd place in last year’s boys state tournament along with Wotherspoon.

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