YOUTH GOLF: Woodlawn, Maywood host big junior events

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Kentucky's top youth golfers coming to Bardstown

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

Over time, local golf courses have become hot destinations for golfers from around the state.

That will be especially true this week as many of Kentucky’s top young golfers will visit the area for a pair of big junior events.

Tuesday is warm-up day, as the Pepsi Junior Golf Tour visits Bardstown Country Club at Woodlawn Springs for a stop on its summer tour around Kentucky. More than 80 boys and girls will compete for tournament wins in 10 divisions.

Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, things get even bigger as Bardstown Country Club at Maywood serves as host to Kentucky’s Junior PGA qualifying event as 135 boys and girls are in town in search of an automatic berth into the national Junior PGA Championship July 31 – Aug. 3 at Fort Wayne, Ind.

This year marks the 14th for Maywood hosting the KJPGA qualifier, and Bardstown Country Club general manager Chris Osborne said it’s an honor for the area to be the longtime home of the event.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It says a lot about our facility that they want to come back every year.”

Osborne, a former officer with the Kentucky PGA, said Bardstown’s central location makes it an appealing spot for tournament organizers. He said he runs into a number of golfers at events around the state who speak highly of their visits to courses in the area as far back as their junior days, and that they look forward to coming back.

“It seeds the future for the golf course,” Osborne said.

Admission is free for folks who would like to watch the events.

“It brings out the best ones (in Kentucky) who want to qualify for a national championship,” Osborne said.

Play Wednesday gets started at 8 a.m. for the boys and 1 p.m. for the girls.

Cole Ballard, who competes for Bethlehem during the high school season, tees off at 9:12 a.m. Wednesday from hole 10. He is paired with Austin Woodward, Ledbetter, and Dakota Jarman, Danville.

Ballard’s teammate, Corey Robinson, is also in action Wednesday, teeing off from hole 1 at 9:57 a.m. He is paired with Chris Hughes, Frankfort, and Drew Kiehl, Louisville.

Osborne said the Junior PGA qualifier is an opportunity for fans to see some possible future stars. Several players on the PGA and LPGA tour got their start as juniors, including pros such as J.B. Holmes and Mallory Blackwelder, who parlayed a Kentucky qualifying win into a Junior PGA national championship.

“You never know — Kentucky has a great history of turning out a lot of great golfers. Most all of them, at one time, played the Pepsi Junior Tour and the Junior PGA,” Osborne said. “Especially for a state as small as we are and as northerly as we are, it’s pretty impressive.”

The boys’ and girls’ 13-15 and 16-18 will contest 36 holes over two days, while the boys’ and girls’ 12-and-under divisions will contest 18 holes over two days.

At Tuesday’s Pepsi event, several local golfers will also be in action at Woodlawn Springs.

Robinson will be seeking a tour win in the boys’ 15-16 division, while Chris Osborne II will vie for the boys’ 11-12 division. Haydon Osborne is in action in the boys’ 8 and under division. Lauren Cox is in competition for the girls’ 13-15 division title.

Play begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday.