GOLF PREVIEW: Senior Parker Payne ready to lead Cardinals into 2022 season

·3 min read

Aug. 5—The South Laurel boys golf team has a mix of some young talent along with a bit of experience as they look to compete among the region's best in 2022.

After losing one of the better golfers in the region last year in Brayden Reed, who is now playing golf on scholarship at the University of the Cumberlands, the Cardinals will turn to their lone senior, Parker Payne who is ready to fill those shoes.

Payne is the top golfer for Coach Steve King, who is in his 13th year as the golf coach at South Laurel. Payne, who many know from the basketball court, brings a level of athleticism and competitiveness to the course that puts him among the region's best.

King said that Payne is already off to a great start this season, after finishing in the top 10 in a recent match at Battlefield in Richmond.

"Parker Payne is our only senior. He is a fantastic athlete. He's really only been playing competitively with us for just over two seasons now, but he has turned out to be a really good player," said King. "He has a great touch and a great putter. He finished 10th against some of the best golfers in the state at Battlefield."

King said what he saw in Payne during that performance is what makes him a solid golfer.

"The most impressive thing is how he did it," said King. "The level of maturity and composure and golf IQ was very high. He started with a par and four-straight bogeys. He regrouped and got back on track, and he finished 2-under from there on out. He finished 2-over for the tournament."

Joining Payne as one of South Laurel's top golfers is Joshua Steele. Steele is a sophomore and has some experience competitively. He will be in the second spot in the Cardinals' five-man team.

"(Joshua) is still relatively new to competitive golf, too," said King. "Last year was his first year playing competitively. He played very well at Battlefield, too."

Rounding out the third and fourth spots are Toby Dotson and Lucas Campell. Jeremiah Smith and Brayden Hodge will be playing for the fifth spot. Cody Smith, Colton Cox, and Braydon Hodges will also see action on the course. Each player on the team will have the chance to compete in tournaments for South Laurel. Each tournament takes the four best scores to determine the team winner, while each player's individual score determines the individual winner.

King said that he likes the potential that his squad is showing. With the help of his assistants Nick Poston and Logan Bray, he thinks this team can compete within the region.

"This team is young and inexperienced, but they are showing some promise," said King. "We have been blessed most years to have one really good player, or two really good players, so we are competitive. It's hard in golf to find four or five really good players, but our kids are getting better each year and we are building."