West Jessamine came to Lexington's Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome seeking a third straight Region 7 girls' golf tournament title.
But the defending state champs would have to do so without 2007 winner Ashlee Rose, who now plays for the University of Kentucky.
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No Ashlee was no problem for the Lady Colts on Monday. Their score of 330 was good for a 7-stroke victory over Franklin County, which placed second for a third consecutive year.
West Jessamine's Emily Haas and Betsie Johnson placed 1-2 with a 73 and 77, and teammate Sloane Skinner finished sixth with an 85.
Franklin County had five of the top 10 finishers. Abby Smith took third with a 79. Erin Marshall, Hillary Kell, Hallie Hardy and Chloe Bates tied for seventh with 86s.
Henry Clay (359) and Boyle County (392) also broke 400, but only the top two teams advance to the state tournament.
In addition, the top four individuals from schools other than West Jessamine and Franklin County will advance to state, scheduled Oct. 6-8 at Bowling Green Country Club.
Henry Clay's Pilar Morgan and Boyle County's Kelsey Joslyn shot 81 to qualify. Taylor Gillis of Anderson County advanced with an 87. Henry Clay's Whitney Miller and Sayre's Allison Hancock each finished at 88, tied for the final qualifying spot. Miller won a sudden-death playoff with a par 5 on the third hole.
What's in store next for West Jessamine?
"We hope to win. It would be great to bring home another championship to Nicholasville," first-year coach Jen Brown said. "It would be very exciting, and we can do it. ... If my girls go out and play the games that they can play next week, they can't be beat. But golf is a game, and it just depends on the day."
Haas, a sophomore, was on her game Monday, shooting 1-over par. She totaled five birdies, three bogeys and a triple bogey.
"I was playing really well at the beginning. I had a bunch of pars and no bogeys," Haas said. "But on No. 9 I did have a bad hole. I had a triple (-bogey) on that hole, but I kept it together and was to keep parring."
She birdied Nos. 3, 4 and 8 to go 3-under. The triple-bogey 7 on the ninth left her an even 35 at the turn.
Back-nine birdies came on Nos. 10 and 17, with bogeys on Nos. 12-14.
Haas said she was hitting her drives "pretty well" and her wedges "were really good." She sank putts of just over 10 feet to save par on No. 5 and salvage a bogey on No. 13.
After Haas and seniors Johnson and Skinner, West Jessamine got a 95 from freshman Whitney Deaton and a 99 from seventh-grader Grace Rose (Ashlee's sister).
"The girls' performance today made me nervous, but I think that they played well," Brown said. "Emily Haas played exceptionally well. She struck the ball great. She just really pulled through."
Franklin put four 86s on the board before Smith came in at 79.
Henry Clay's Morgan, a junior, was the top finisher from a Lexington school. After a somewhat rough 42 on the front nine, she rallied with a 39 on the back.
"I went par-bogey and I was a little down," she said of her back-nine start. "But then on 12 I hit a great shot a foot from the hole, made birdie and kind of just went on a par streak after that."
That "great shot" was a 4-iron from about 175 yards.
"I'm glad I made it (to state) again," Morgan said. "This is one of the hardest regions in the state of Kentucky."
Teammate Miller played steady to win the playoff.
Sayre's Hancock stayed alive by holing a 15-footer for a par 3 on No. 2. On the par-5 third hole, though, her tee shot landed on an adjoining fairway. She was laying 6 when Miller closed the playoff with a par.