With a shotgun start, each group started on a different hole to begin their round. Parks, a sophomore, drew the first hole as his starting point, which he felt was to his benefit.
“I like starting on one, just to kind of get the feel going because I think they’re built in the order in which they’re supposed to be played 1 to 18,” said Parks. “It just gives me a little confidence.”
Also giving him confidence was his driver. On the 537-yard par 5 17th, Parks used the club to get within 180 yards on his approach. From there, he got within 15 feet of the pin. He two-putted for his fifth birdie of the round, allowing him to finish with a score of 2-under par.
In the team competition, St. Xavier’s No. 1 squad posted the only score below 300. The Tigers’ 297 tally was three shots better than the runners-up from Lexington Christian. In marked the fourth time in five tournaments that St. X took a team title. It also marked the third straight win in the tournament the team hosts.
“It’s a tough golf course,” said Tigers’ first-year coach Patrick Sullivan. “There’s a lot of pressure. It’s our event, so our kids are feeling that. But I’m very happy with the way they played.”
The Tigers also got to showcase their depth on Saturday. While their top golfers took the team title, a freshman playing in just his second tournament carded the lowest round for St. X. Campbell Kremer was one of three golfers to post a 1-under. He had a chance to force a playoff for the individual title, but a he missed a 10-foot putt for par on the sixth hole (his last).
Kremer started the round hot, with birdies on three of his first six holes, but he had bogeys on 17, 18 and 1 because of putting woes. He followed that with a birdie on No. 2 to put him back to 2-under before his final hole bogey.
Still, it was a performance that impressed himself and his coach.
“I know I can go under par,” said Kremer, who ended up finishing second over Owensboro Catholic’s Hayden Riney and Zach Norris of Jackson County thanks to his lower score on the back nine holes. “This is a pretty hard course because they’re small greens. You have to hit the greens to get par.”
The tournament, hosted by former St. X star and current PGA golfer Justin Thomas, featured 108 golfers and 19 of the top teams in the state. Several of the teams who came to Goshen figure to be competing at the state tournament in Bowling Green in early October.
“I think this was extremely deep and competitive field,” Sullivan said. “So for us to come out on top today gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season. Ultimately, it can be something we can lean on come state in October.”
53rd Kentucky Invitational Tournament
at Harmony Landing C.C.
Team: St. Xavier Green 297, Lexington Christian 300, Trinity 301, St. Xavier Gold 302, Taylor County 304, Covington Catholic 307, Franklin County 307, North Oldham 307, Ownesboro Catholic 307, Ballard 310, Greenwood 311, Christian Academy 315, Ryle 316, Madison Central 317, Union County 320, Lafayette 322, Elizabethtown 329, Collegiate 329, Paul Dunbar 333, Bowling Green 335.
Individual: Cooper Parks (Taylor County) 69, Campbell Kremer (St. Xavier Gold) 70, Hayden Riney (Owensboro Catholic) 70, Zach Norris (Jackson County) 70, Jansen Preston (Lexington Christian) 71, Christian Olsen (St. Xavier Gold) 71, Canon Claycomb (Greenwood) 71, Mason Lenhart (North Oldham) 71, Chase Landrum (Glasgow) 71, Drew Doyle (St. Xavier Green) 72.