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Ironton hosting golf invitational Monday

PINE GROVE — It’s time for tee.

High school golfers can drink up the excitement of a new season as they tee-off at 9 a.m. Monday in the annual Ironton Invitational.

Joining host Ironton will be West Union, North Adams, South Point Fairland, Gallipolis and River Valley.

West Union, a district qualifier last season, is the odds-on favorite.

Ironton, a state tournament qualifier last season, lost six of its eight players from last season. Coach Jeff Kerns knows trying to repeat last season’s success will be a tough challenge.

“We just want to see improvement,” Kerns said. “We have two really good golfers back, and golf can be an individual sport, but the kids all know it’s a lot better to go as a team.

“We can’t worry about the sectional or district. That’s more than two months away. We just have to try and get better.”

Senior Seth Christian, a second team All-Ohio selection last year, and sophomore Nathan Kerns are the only returning players from last season.

Kerns is fresh off winning the Tri-State Junior Golf Circuit Player of the Year award for the 13-15 age division.

“They’re good, solid players. They just have to be patient,” coach Kerns said.

“They’ve been working with the other guys and trying to give them some of their experience and knowledge. They’re trying to help as much as they can.”

The four new players on the team are senior Tanner Reed, junior Michael Filkins, sophomore Brad Roberts and freshman Aaron Christian.

“We’re young. We have a couple of guys who haven’t played much golf, but they’re all working hard,” coach Kerns said.