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Kaitlyn Riley's time at the state high school golf tournament wasn't what she wanted, but it was not bad either.
The Anderson County High School junior shot rounds of 82 and 81 at the tournament, held last Tuesday and Wednesday at the Bowling Green Country Club. While Riley made the first-day cut and finished in a five-way tie for 27th place individually, her goal had been to be in the Top 10 when play ended.
“If felt I did all right, but I could have done better,” Riley said of the 163 score in her third trip to the state. A year ago, she made the cut with an 86, then shot a 91 in the final round.
Riley got off to a slow start on the first day falling as far off as 11-under, but she rebounded to go one-under from the 12th hole on.
“The first 11 holes, I didn't have control of my drive,” Riley said. She added that the roughs were very thick and the greens were very fast.
Riley teed off at 7:18 a.m. last Tuesday, then had to wait all night – literally – before knowing for sure if she had advancd.
“Last year, I made it with an 86 and I had an 82,” Riley said. “I also knew there would not be a lot of great scores coming in, so I thought I would be at the door.”
But a rain delay did not allow all of the golfers to finish before darkness, forcing Riley and her family to wait overnight before knowing for certain.
Yet there was little tossing and turning last Tuesday night.
“There were only 12 golfers still on the course when they called it,” Riley said. “We had been looking at the scores and even if all 12 of those golfers had beaten me, I still would have made it.”
Riley had some uncharacteristic problems early as she fell to 11-under.
“I wouldn't necessarily say it was nerves,” she said. “I just feel I could play better.”
She did not complete her practice round, making only four holes before heavy rain forced her off the course.
While Riley has never faced eventual state individual champ Anna Hack, from Calloway County, she has beaten several players who finished in the Top 10.
“That was my goal for this year. It is my goal for next year now.”
Riley's father, Mike Riley, said he has no idea of how many rounds of gole Kaitlyn has played since late winter. But he said he daughter will be taking a short break before heading back to the greens.
Kaitlyn says her schedule is open at this point and she is not sure exactly what tournaments she will be playing in the off-season.
But she knows she wants to be in next year's Top 10. “I am going to be practicing and playing a lot,” she said with a smile.”
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