BOWLING GREEN -- Every time Jay Nimmo dropped a shot at the 2019 KHSAA Boys State Golf Championship, the rest of the field thought it was a day for Finding Nimmo.
But it was not to be. Nimmo recovered every dropped shot with birdies, shot even par, and won the medalist title with an overall 3-under-par 141 Saturday at Bowling Green Country Club.
With Nimmo's solid round, backed by improved scores by the rest of the team, the Marshals cemented fourth place in the team competition.
Nimmo is the 12th all-time First Region boys golf state champion since Mayfield's Ted Hale was first in 1959, and the first since Cullan Brown of Lyon County took the crown in 2016. The last Marshall County golf state champ was Travis Thompson in 2007.
But it wasn't a walk in the park, for either Nimmo or the team.
The Marshals started play on the 10th hole, and Nimmo opened his round with a pushed drive in the rough for a bogey. Although the tendency to hit offline to the left lingered throughout the round, Nimmo was able to shoot even par to take medalist honors.
"I had some nerves," said Nimmo, who entered Saturday's final round with a two-stroke lead. "But I was able to miss shots in the right spots and it didn't hurt me."
On the fourth hole, Nimmo had fallen back to 1-over for the day and he left his driver in the bag, hitting a long iron off the tee.
"I knew I had a two-shot lead at that time, and I didn't want to do something stupid," he said. "I didn't lose anything by it."
The long par-5 fifth hole was the turning point Saturday. After a perfect drive, Nimmo hit a fairway wood to 10 yards from the putting surface. His chip almost went in the hole for an eagle, and he tapped in the 2-inch birdie putt to get back to 3-under for the tourney. For the rest of the round, he was on cruise control on his way to a two-stroke victory over Louisville Trinity's John Marshall Butler.
Marshals coach Keith Bell summarized Nimmo's play: "Jay has gained competitive golf experience beyond normal players. He plays in tournaments all over the country. He has great attitude and can do things with a golf club nobody else can. And he practices all the time."
Bell also had praise for his fourth-place team.
"This was a great team effort today," he said. "We knew what Jay (Nimmo) would do. The rest of the team stepped up really well. Tyler (Powell) shot 5-over (77), and it could have been even lower. Camdyn (McLeod) improved to 5-over as well, and that was big. Trey (Wall) also improved two strokes, and Preston Futrell shot three better."
The Marshals shot 308-307--615 for the tourney. First place went to Taylor County with 305-301--606. Lexington Christian Academy was leading the first day by one stroke at 297 but fell all the way to third in the final round, shooting 312 for 609. Trinity held on to second place with 298-310--608.
With every player back next year, Marshall County looks to be a powerhouse in the First Region and the state.
"We now have a middle school boys golf team and a coach," Bell added. "Our local country clubs have youth programs that create an interest in golf, and we want to keep it going."
While it was a spectacular winning day for Marshall County, the state tournament did not fare as well for the individual qualifiers from the First Region.
Sammy Greenwell of Crittenden County was in third place after Round 1 with an even-par 72. But the second round, Greenwell shot 87 with three bogeys and two doubles on the front nine and a quad-bogey and triple bogey on the back nine.
"It just wasn't there," Greenwell said. "Yesterday, I was putting great, but today I just kept getting in trouble. I couldn't stay focused."
Calloway County's Ty Gallimore struggled to an 87 after shooting 80 on Friday. His fall was in the front nine with three double bogeys.
St. Mary's Peyton Purvis also slid from his first round 75 to 80 on Saturday.
"I had three birdies and three bogey to start but double-bogeyed for a 39 on the front. It just wasn't my best," he said.
McCracken County's Connor Kirkham was the only local individual to shoot better in the second round. After making the cut at 81 on Friday, he went one better at 80 on the second round.
"I actually was 7-over after the first nine," said Kirkham, a senior playing his last high school tournament.
Hickman County's Tyler Abernathy, also a senior, shot 85 Saturday after a first-round 81.
"I'm glad that's over," was all Abernathy could say of his round. Abernathy is headed for Murray State.
St. Mary's Rocco Zakutney had seven double-bogeys on his way to shooting 92 in Saturday's round.
Zakutney and Purvis are both sophomores and will be the heart of the Vikings squad next year.
KHSAA Boys Golf Championship
At Bowling Green CC, par 72
Jay Nimmo 69 72 141
John Marshall Butler 73 70 143
Owen Stamper 74 70 144
Reese Sexton 72 73 145
Drew Doyle 73 72 145
Taylor Co. 305 301 606
Lou. Trinity 298 310 608
Lex. Christian 297 312 609
Marshall Co. 308 307 615
Bowling Green 313 307 620