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J.B. Holmes Cup aims to influence, motivate Kentucky youth golfers

Professional golfers come from all areas of the world and many different backgrounds and walks of life, but one thing most share is the influence someone had on them while developing and growing.

And once a golfer is fortunate enough to reach the heights of the sport, he often turns his sights to being a positive role model. At the heart of it, that’s what this weekend’s Holmes Cup at Old Bridge Golf Club is all about — pro golfer and Kentucky native J.B. Holmes making sure he is an example and inspiration for the next wave of golfers from the state.

There are 48 boys and girls golfers from around the state competing in the event, and two local boys are among the roster, Danville’s Jared Southerland and Boyle County’s Harrison Adams, who will play on Team Kentucky.

A separate Team J.B. Holmes is comprised of golfers from the Campbellsville area, Holmes’ hometown.

“For me to get picked to represent Team Kentucky is just awesome,” Southerland said. “There’s a lot of great players on Team Kentucky. … It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The weekend kicked off Friday with practice rounds and a banquet. Saturday brings four ball/foursome matches, and Sunday wraps up the weekend with singles matches. In a flyer to the participants, Holmes said he wanted them to experience team play like he did at the Ryder Cup.

“Junior golf was a big part of his early development,” J.B.’s dad, Maurice Holmes said. “It was a big influence on him, gave him a place to play to hone his skills. But there was very little match play, and since he’s gotten into match play with two Ryder Cups and a President’s Cup, he felt kids in our state needed to be introduced to match play.”

This is the second year for the event after being held at Campbellsville Country Club last year. Holmes said the event will shift between locations to give everyone a true tournament and team feeling.

Mike Kehoe, the PGA Professional at Campbellsville and owner at Old Bridge, said the event took about five years to get off the ground. But with Holmes and his sponsors behind it, there was never a doubt about the level of experience for the golfers.

The event is free for the golfers, from gear to hotel accommodations to meals are all taken care of by Holmes’ sponsors.

The weekend isn’t all about golf, though. After Saturday’s matches, the golfers will head to Hooves of Hope in Garrard County for service projects, including cleaning horse stalls, wax saddles and painting fences.

“The kids are going to work three or four hours up there,” Kehoe said.

As it turns out, Saturday is also Southerland’s 18th birthday. He thinks knowing Old Bridge so well — he spent four years as a cart boy, only recently leaving the position — will help give him an advantage.

“I’ve played countless number of rounds out there,” Southerland said. “I’ve shot my lowest round ever there, 5-under 67.”

For Southerland, having an example like Holmes to look to — someone from Kentucky who rose through the ranks and now finds himself as a star on the PGA Tour — gives him hope he could someday achieve his dreams.

And it’s that influence the Holmes family hopes to foster with this weekend’s event.

“You want to be able to give back because when he was a junior, someone was doing it for him,” Holmes said. “Someone was a scorekeeper, someone was running the tournament. He felt this was a way to give back, to introduce them to match play and show them how much fun he has in Ryder Cup and President’s Cup.”

Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn