The golf courses of the First Region are Jay Nimmo's canvas.

The Marshall County junior is the consensus favorite this season to repeat as the region's best individual golfer.

And, with stops this summer on the AJGA Tour and the U.S. Junior National Championship in Toledo, Ohio, Nimmo seems headed in the right direction.

"I hope it stays this way," Nimmo said Saturday at Paxton Park, after winning his second-consecutive Paducah Tilghman Invitational by firing a 5-under 66.

As a team, the Marshals are equally-likely to finish the year No. 1. Marshall won the Tilghman Invitational with a 290.

And, it's not just Nimmo who plays well for Marshals coach Keith Bell's group.

Senior Tyler Powell and junior Camdyn McLeod (pronounced "mick-load") have alternated with the lefty -- both late last season and early this year -- as the top dog.

Each member of the trio agreed that it's been helpful for one to push the other two on any given day.

"It's started great," Powell said. "And, to be honest with you, it could be a whole lot better. For the most part, it's really, really good and I'm super excited right now."

And for all the early success the Marshals have had, there are still surprises.

"Really, the only thing that honestly surprises me is that we haven't been in the 280s yet," Powell said. "We keep getting 290s and breaking the 300-mark. I think that's our goal, to get in the 280s."

Hickman's Abernathy playing 'stress-free'

Hickman County senior Tyler Abernathy is consistently in the running for not only the First Region's All "A" individual title, but the regional individual crown at-large.

Over the summer, he committed to play at Murray State -- his No. 1 choice. That, Abernathy said, made playing for his senior year much more fun.

"I feel like it's relieved a lot of stress," said Abernathy, who shot an 81 on Saturday. "I feel like I can just come out here and play golf. And, if I play bad, it's not as big of a deal. I still want to play (well), but it's a lot more stress-free."

The All "A," which seems to start sooner and sooner each year, is set to begin next week.

Abernathy and Hickman County could each take titles in the region this year.

"As an individual, I'm trying to win the regional," he said. "As a team, I think we've got a shot. We all need to show up and play well, but I think we could very easily do it."

McCracken starts

3rd season

with 3rd coach

For the third time in as many seasons, McCracken County is starting the year with a new boys golf coach.

First it was Nick Mills, whose Mustangs won the First Region title in his final season with the team.

Last year, Chris Griffin supervised a retooling year for the Mustangs.

Now, Chris Gregory -- who doubles as one of the assistant coaches for the school's girls basketball team -- returns to life as a golf coach. He was a coach at Lone Oak before its consolidation with Heath and Reidland high schools to become McCracken County High.

Senior Connor Kirkham, McCracken's No. 1 this year, said it's been a challenging transition each of the last two seasons to a new way of thinking.

"It's weird always having someone new," he said. "We got used to Nick, who was our old coach, for a few years. After that, we had Chris (Griffin), who was only there one year. Hopefully our new Chris (Gregory) is going to stay here for a couple of years. I mean, I'm gone after this year because I'm a senior, but I like him a lot. He's really nice."

There's experience to draw from, in addition to Kirkham. Garrett Rikel is a seasoned veteran as a junior, and Camryn Beatty -- whose older sister Carley Beatty was a three-year member of McCracken's girls golf team -- and Walker McNeil are in their second year with the Mustangs. The only newcomer is Abraham Dumes, the younger brother of former McCracken volleyball standout Addison Dumes.

And, coming off a disappointing end to the 2018 campaign, Kirkham and his teammates want to improve, he said, not only with scoring, but with playing as much as possible as a team.

"We've all been practicing a lot more," Kirkham said. "We've all been out here together. It's helped out. We've all lowered our averages. Practice makes perfect and that's what you've got to do."

Chip shots from

around the region

Paducah Tilghman seems to be improving this year, and Jack Butts transferred there from St. Mary. Still, it's the short game that Tilghman coach Brett Larimer says will need to improve for his team to make a move in the region.Murray, behind returning golfers Grant Whitaker and Jack Epperson, might make some noise in the All "A" regional tournament next week.Rocco Zakutney, who with Butts appeared to be a formidable 1-2 punch for St. Mary, was third at the Paducah Tilghman Invitational. All five Vikings who played Saturday have experience at the varsity level, with Peyton Purvis sliding into the role as St. Mary's No. 2 man behind Zakutney, who took Butts' No. 1 spot. Look for the Vikings to make a push behind Hickman County in the All "A" tourney.

Top Paducah Tilghman

Invitational team scores from the coverage area

(Top four individuals count toward team score)

Marshall County, 290

Jay Nimmo, 66

Camdyn McLeod, 73

Tyler Powell, 74

Trey Wall, 77

Preston Futrell, 89

McCracken County, 314

Connor Kirkham, 69

Camryn Beatty, 80

Garrett Rikel, 81

Walker McNeil, 84

Abraham Dumes, 92

St. Mary, 321

Rocco Zakutney, 71

Peyton Purvis, 79

Palmer Sims, 83

Luke Wilson, 88

Cade Fleming, 92

Paducah Tilghman, 352

Jack Butts, 80

AJ Armstrong, 87

Michael Sanders, 91

Aiden Hahn, 94

Sammy Lambert, 96

Individual scores of note

Drake Butler (Marshall County), 75

Andrew Watson (Mayfield), 77

Darit Barnes (Livingston Central), 79

Tyler Abernathy (Hickman County), 81

Top Paducah Tilghman Invitational team scores from the coverage area

(Top four individuals count toward team score)

Marshall County, 290

Jay Nimmo, 66

Camdyn McLeod, 73

Tyler Powell, 74

Trey Wall, 77

Preston Futrell, 89

McCracken County, 314

Connor Kirkham, 69

Camryn Beatty, 80

Garrett Rikel, 81

Walker McNeil, 84

Abraham Dumes, 92

St. Mary, 321

Rocco Zakutney, 71

Peyton Purvis, 79

Palmer Sims, 83

Luke Wilson, 88

Cade Fleming, 92

Paducah Tilghman, 352

Jack Butts, 80

AJ Armstrong, 87

Michael Sanders, 91

Aiden Hahn, 94

Sammy Lambert, 96

Individual scores of note

Drake Butler (Marshall County), 75

Andrew Watson (Mayfield), 77

Darit Barnes (Livingston Central), 79

Tyler Abernathy (Hickman County), 81

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