Nimmo-1

Defending First Region and Kentucky boys golf champion Jay Nimmo (background) opened the 2020 season with a 6-under 66 on Friday in the Murray Invitational at Murray Country Club. Both he and the Marshals claimed the inaugural individual and team titles.

MURRAY — Marshall County boys golf picked up right where it left off on Friday afternoon, opening the 2020 Kentucky high school links season by firing a four-man 308 to claim the inaugural 2020 Murray Invitational at Murray Country Club.

And, as expected, the defending First Region titlists were led by none other than their defending 2019 KHSAA state champion in senior star Jay Nimmo, who simply ignored a bogey on No. 8 to shoot a subliminal 6-under 66.

For Nimmo, the round didn’t feel good because of overcast skies and lower temperatures, or because his next-closest competitor was a terrific effort from St. Mary’s Rocco Zakutney (2-under 70).

It was because Murray Country Club will play host to the 2020 First Region Tournament. And if he could win on Friday, he certainly could win it when it’ll mean a little more.

“To get out here and play well on a course where our season is going to be on the line?” Nimmo asked, rhetorically. “It’s a good feeling.”

Behind Nimmo’s 66 included Camdyn McLeod’s 77, Trey Wall’s 81 and Hayden Powell’s 84 ... the kind of balanced effort the Marshals are going to need if they want to repeat as champions.

“This course can bite you,” noted seventh-year Marshals coach Keith Bell. “Jay’s 66 is great, and he feels very comfortable. Obviously, we want to get a practice round or two in here before we go into (the regional championship). But obviously, it’s great to have a player like Jay to rely on.

“Now, what I don’t want Jay to feel is that burden of carrying this whole team all season long. He’s got to have help from his teammates, from the team perspective of it. Jay is going to come out here and do what he does on most occasions. He may have a bad day, but for the most part, everyone has seen what he can do. But obviously he’s a great golfer, and he has a lot of great golf ahead of him.”

Just as important as Marshall County’s win was the fact that 20th-year head coach Kurt Averill and his Vikings were firmly in the rear-view mirror of the Marshals the entire day, after finishing second by firing a 322 behind Zakutney, Payton Purvis (77), Luke Wilson (86) and Palmer Sims (89).

“When Murray’s coach (Denise Whitaker) called us and asked who we wanted to be paired up with, and she said, ‘Do you guys want to be paired up with St. Mary?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ Let’s go head to head and give the boys a taste of what we’re doing right now,” Bell said. “(Kurt) will have that team prepared and ready. They have the potential to be a very good team. And if Payton and Rocco, on the same day, have great rounds? And we have some bad rounds? This whole thing shifts around in a different direction. I’m sure he’ll be fighting hard to get his kids ready, and I’m going to be doing the same thing.”

Indeed, St. Mary finished third as a team in the 2019 First Region Tournament — just behind a McCracken squad previously led by Connor Kirkham — and the Vikings didn’t lose a soul from the squad. In all honesty, Averill was seeking better scores in his team’s return to play.

“Luke has been tearing it up all summer,” he said. “I think he got a little nervous (Friday) trying to help his team out, and there’s a little bit take on today than just playing normally. He’s been breaking 80 right and left, and he shot an 86. You can shave six shots easy, there. And Cade Fleming shoots a 91, and he did this same thing last year. Shoots bad in the first round, then all of a sudden gets back to breaking 80. And Palmer Sims shooting an 89 is really shocking. I’d take nine shots off of that, easy. There’s 15 shots right there.

“That better be the worst scores I see. Hats off to Rocco, who shoots a 2-under. And Payton just got off a two-week vacation. He’s been tearing it up, and he still shot a 77.

“But this is great. We’re really looking forward to the season.”

2020 Murray Invitational

Murray Country Club (Par 72)

Friday’s boys scores

1) Jay Nimmo, Marshall 66

2) Rocco Zakutney, St. Mary 70

T3) Payton Purvis, St. Mary 77

T3) Garret Rikel, McCracken 77

T3) Camdyn McLeod, Marshall 77

T3) Jiles Wyatt, UHA 77

7) Hunter Reynolds, Trigg 80

8) Trey Wall, Marshall 81

9) Camryn Beatty, McCracken 82

10) Tyler Drew, McCracken 83

Hayden Powell, Marshall 84

Trey Carr, Trigg 84

Aidan Poston, Calloway 85

Abe Dumes, McCracken 85

Luke Wilson, St. Mary 86

Landen Crider, Crittenden 86

Sammy Greenwell, Crittenden 86

Ryan Stokes, Marshall B 86

Hayden Reynolds, Trigg 86

Davis Vessels, McCracken 88

David Jack Morris, Marshall B 88

Kobe Allen, Graves 89

Palmer Sims, St. Mary’89

Gunner Hoover, Marshall 89

Jack Butts, Tilghman 90

Preston Futrell, Marshall 90

Blaine Dowdy, Ballard 90

Grant Whitaker, Murray 91

Cade Fleming, St. Mary’s 91

Ty Butts, Trigg 91

Tanner Crouch,, Calloway 92

Jeremiah Foster Crittenden 92

Tate Scillian, Marshall B 92

Kesean Galbreath, Mayfield 92

AJ Armstrong,, Tilghman 93

Drake Butler Marshall B 93

Jude Doer, UHA 94

Jack Epperson, Murray 95

Jonah Morgan, Murray 95

Aiden Hahn, St. Mary 95

Austin Crick, Caldwell 96

Tucker Blane, Murray 100

Caleb Ticknor, Calloway 100

Grayson Grissom, Trigg 100

Avery Belt, Crittenden 103

Whitson McNeill, Tilghman 103

Luke Shouse, UHA 104

Zakary Henson, Madison Acad. Magnet 105

Maddux O’ Guinn,, Graves 106

Micah Koenecke Calloway 108

Josh Adams, Ballard 110

Jake Miller, Ballard 114

Grant Phillips, Graves 115

Payton Toon, Tilghman 115

Asa McCord, Crittenden 116

Aaron Onate, UHA 117

Kyle Crady, Murray B 118

Lukin Rogers, Graves 120

Ryan Hammett, Caldwell 124

Casey Tidwell, Murray B 124

Camden McGregor, Caldwell 124

Nick Holcomb, Murray 125

Lincoln English, Murray B 128

Kobe Watson, Murray B 129

Cannon Littlejohn, Caldwell 148

Chandler Andrews, Murray B WD

Follow Marlowe on Twitter @dreamarlowe85, call him (270) 575-8661, or email him at emarlowe@paducahsun.com.

Follow Marlowe on Twitter @dreamarlowe85, call him (270) 575-8661, or email him at emarlowe@paducahsun.com.

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