Marshall County was something of a surprise when it won the boys' state golf championship last year, with Marshals sophomore Travis Thompson taking the individual title, too.
Nobody's overlooking Marshall County this year, though. The Marshals and perennial power St. Xavier are considered the favorites in the 36-hole competition that begins Friday and ends Saturday at Bowling Green Country Club.
Marshall County, led by senior Patrick Newcomb's 65, had the lowest team score (291) in regional play across the state.
St. X, which has won 16 state titles, is led by sophomore star Justin Thomas.
Central Kentucky will be well-represented in the state tournament.
Paul Dunbar won its region title, with sophomore Will Bishop leading the way.
The Bulldogs finished seventh in the state last year and return four golfers — Bishop, Zack Butler, Tanner Mobley and Charlie Schaffer. Brandon Collier will be Dunbar's fifth man.
"All the guys except one played in the tournament for us last year, so we're a little more familiar with the course and know a little better what to expect," Bulldogs Coach Brad Bachand said.
Butler was Dunbar's lowest scorer, tying for 20th.
Lexington Christian will be making its second trip in a row to Bowling Green, with hopes of improving on its fourth-place finish last year.
Eagles Coach Bo Starnes has his entire lineup back, led by region medalist Hunter Stewart, along with Blanton Farmer, Hager Collins, Taylor Combs and Hunter Frazier.
"We've got the same five back, and we learned a lot last year," said Frazier, who tied for 11th in 2007. "We hope we can build on it this year."
Scott County's Kyle Wilshire and Adam Venci, and Henry Clay's Preston French qualified as individuals out of this region.
Wilshire tied for ninth in the state last year and 20th two years ago.
West Jessamine earned a berth in the state by winning its region. Fred Allen Meyer, a seventh-grader, led the Colts with a 72, and senior Matt Kyles had a 73. Also playing for West will be Nate Johnson, Travis Rose and Conner Haas.