Sawyer Hulette

Franklin County's Sawyer Hulette won a playoff at the Ninth Region golf tournament to earn a berth in the state tournament next week in Bowling Green. (Linda Younkin)

LEXINGTON — Not much sleep, a lot of nerves.

Not the makings for a great round of golf, but that’s what Franklin County’s Sawyer Hulette had Tuesday.

Hulette, a senior, won a three-person playoff for the last individual state berth at the 9th Region Tournament at Kearney Hill Golf Links.

“I was nervous, very nervous,” Hulette said about his last regional tournament. “I didn’t sleep that well, and I woke up really early.”

In a change for state qualifications, the top team in each region and the top seven players not on that team advance to state, which will be played Oct. 11-12 at Bowling Green Country Club.

Lexington Christian took the team title with a score of 290, and Madison Central was runner-up with a 293.

Hulette, Madison Central’s Gavin McKune and Sayre’s Hayden Adams all shot 74 to tie for the final individual qualifying spot.

“Before my tee shot I was very scared,” Hulette said about the playoff. “All these people are watching you. The Madison Central kid got up and hit a good shot. I felt a little better after the Sayre kid. He kind of mis-hit his tee shot, but I didn’t hit a very good tee shot.”

But like it had all day, putting came through for Hulette, who took par on the first playoff hole to defeat the other two players.

“It was awesome,” Hulette said. “To look at my coach and see his face, like you really did it. “That’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life, for sure.

“I putted out of my head today,” he added. “That’s probably the best I’ve putted in my life. I had two-foot putts and six birdies. I was playing great.”

LCA’s Alexander Bessell was medalist with a four-under par 68.

The Flyers shot a team score of 327 with senior Camden Good also in the 70s with a 79.

Western Hills and Frankfort also competed in the tournament. WHHS shot 351, led by Jackson Whitaker with a 76 and Brandon Webb with a 78.

FHS finished at 391. Garrett Wellman had the Panthers’ top score with an 88, and Reed Miklavcic shot 98.

“We talked about 74 for two weeks,” FCHS coach Kevin Hall said. “That was the number. If you shoot that you have a chance to get in a playoff. That was the number they kept asking about all day, Sawyer and Camden both.”

FCHS’ 327 put them in eighth place for the tournament.

“I’m proudest that that’s the best score we’ve had from players one through five,” Hall said. “We had three scores in the 80s and two in the 70s.

“Ben Bevington shot 89, and he’s an eighth-grader. The future looks pretty good even though we lose two key parts of our team. We’ve definitely had an up-and-down roller coaster season, but we finished at the top of the hill.”

This will be Hulette’s first trip to the state tournament. No one from last year’s team made it to state, the first time since 2012 that FCHS didn’t advance a player.

“Sawyer continues the tradition of representing our school at state,” Hall said. “We’ve been represented since 2012, and coming out of this region, that’s saying something that last year was the only time we didn’t have someone at state.”

FCHS (327): Sawyer Hulette 74, Camden Good 79, Will Dowler 86, Abe VanHouten 88, Ben Bevington 88.

WHHS (351): Jackson Whitaker 76, Brandon Webb 78, Jaxson Hill 96, Carter Smith 105, Damion Shanks 109.

FHS (391): Garrett Wellman 88, Reed Miklavcic 98, Will O'Bryan 100, Austin Wellman 105.

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