WEST FRANKFORT — There was less margin for error as the high school golf postseason opened Tuesday with boys regionals across the state. In past years, the top three teams would advance out of the regional, but this year only two will move on.
Anna-Jonesboro, Hamilton County, and West Frankfort battled at the top of the team standings all day at the West Frankfort Boys 1A Regional at Franklin County Country Club. Three teams fighting for two spots. Midway through the round, the Foxes found themselves trailing the Redbirds by nine shots and the Wildcats by five. With three holes to play, Hamilton County had erased that deficit, pulling even with West Frankfort and two shots ahead of A-J.
The Foxes played those final three holes three shots better than the Redbirds and four shots better than the Wildcats to earn the regional championship. West Frankfort also will advance, with Anna-Jonesboro the odd team out.
Individually, West Frankfort senior Tyson Elko picked a great time to pick up his first tournament win. Elko carded a 75 to edge Goreville’s AJ Johnson by a stroke for regional medalist honors. Johnson along with A-J’s Luke Lasley (77), Eldorado’s Noah Smith (77), ZRC’s Riley Cross (83), and Hardin County’s Calen Banks (83) all advance as individuals to next week’s ZRC Sectional, which will also be at Franklin County Country Club.
Hamilton Co. 339
West Frankfort 342
Johnston City 489
Advancing teams: Hamilton Co., West Frankfort
1) Tyson Elko, West Frankfort 75
2) AJ Johnson, Goreville 76
T3)Luke Lasley, Anna-Jonesboro 77
T3)Noah Smith, Eldorado 77
5) Abe Neal, Hamilton Co. 79
6) Laban Hunt, Hamilton Co. 81
T7)Riley Cross, ZRC 83
T7)Calen Banks, Hardin Co. 83
9) Carter Maloney, ZRC 85
T10)Ben Herron, West Frankfort 87
T10)Gavin Osman, Anna-Jonesboro 87
Advancing individuals: AJ Johnson, Goreville (76), Luke Lasley, A-J (77), Noah Smith, Eldorado (77), Riley Cross, ZRC (83), Calen Banks, Hardin Co. (83)