Spain Park wins boys golf state title, Chase Kyes takes second straight championship

Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MUSCLE SHOALS – It was a banner week for the Spain Park Jaguars as they outlasted some of the best golfers from around the state to claim a pair of blue maps.

Spain Park took the win in the Class 7A boys golf state championship from May 13-14 at Robert Trent Jones Shoals in Muscle Shoals while Chase Kyes finished first in the individual standings for the second year in a row.

The Jags beat Vestavia Hills by 10 strokes in the team competition to finish at 7-over-par, and they also topped Fairhope and St. Paul’s to clinch the title.

While in previous years, golfers completed two 18-hole rounds to crown a champion, the threat of severe weather on Tuesday, May 14 forced the AHSAA to go to a back-up plan.

The second day of competition was modified to nine holes with golfers to play the Fighting Joe’s holes 1-4, 11-14 and 17 to remain close to the clubhouse in case storms forced an evacuation.

Spain Park had a strong start to the competition on Monday, May 13 as all four of its scoring golfers finished 5-over-par or better.

Kyes came into the second day as the top Jags golfer thanks to a 1-under score of 71, including birdies on 12 and 15.

Wes Sauceda finished with a 2-over score of 74 behind three birdies on the back nine, Davis Gurley scored a 3-over 75 and Ian Norman had a 5-over score of 77.

With those scores, Kyes entered the second day in a tie for fifth place, Sauceda was tied for eighth and Gurley was in 10th in the individual competition.

As the Jags returned to the course with a two-stroke lead in the team competition, they needed a big day to hold off Vestavia Hills, and they got exactly that.

All four golfers finished 1-over-par or better to help Spain Park pull away for the title.

That rally was spearheaded by Kyes who secured birdies on holes one, three, 11 and 14 to finish the nine-hole round at a 4-under-par 34. As a result, Kyes overcame his two-stroke deficit and surged into the individual lead.

Ballatine finished with an even-par score of 38 and Norman and Sauceda each had a 1-over-par score of 39 as each golfer earned a birdie during the round to help push the Jags over the top and to a state title.

For Kyes, it’s his second straight state title after winning in 2023 behind a second-round score of 66 at the Robert Trent Jones Grand National in Auburn.

He also finished runner-up as a freshman in 2022, making it three straight years of finishing in the top two at the state championship. This is the 14th medalist honor for Kyes, who also qualified for both the US Amateur and US Junior Amateur in 2023.