It didn't take long for Chris Salamah to get back into the swing of things.

Playing in his first golf tournament of the summer, Salamah carded a 77 to claim a two-stroke victory in the Boys 16-18 Championship division of the Worth Insurance Group/Chick-Fil-A Greater Owensboro Junior Golf Series event on a picturesque Monday at Hillcrest Golf Course.

Salamah, who attended the prestigious Gatton Academy in Bowling Green last year and didn't play scholastic golf, found that his play off the tee provided a boost while he worked the rust off the other areas of his game.

"I'm really just trying to get back into the tournament vibe," he said, "because I haven't really played golf for a few months.

"After the first few holes, I got my drives in the fairway and started hitting them solid, so that really helped out. ... Today, my drive really came through. My short game was off, so it evened out."

Salamah, now a rising senior at Daviess County High School, has been a constant on the series for years. He began competing in the 8-and-under division as a youngster, and, since then, he considers it a summer tradition. Even his younger sister, Alexa, plays.

"It's a lot more chill atmosphere," Salamah said, comparing the GO Series to other golf events. "We all know each other, so we're good friends.

"On one of the holes, one of the guys I was playing with, Lincoln, he went over the green. He went to look for his ball, I went to get his club for him. If that was in a bigger tournament, someone would probably raise a flag or say something."

Instead, Salamah added, the GO Series provides a relaxed environment while still presenting challenges on the course.

"They're really good for getting me ready to play under pressure," he said.

Mark Price, the GO Series founder and director, has certainly enjoyed watching Salamah evolve over the years.

"Chris is a tremendous athlete," Price said of Salamah, who also reached the doubles quarterfinals of the KHSAA State Tennis Championships last month. "He's a great tennis player, and he's always been a really good golfer. Early on, he was a better tennis player than golfer, but I think he's really good at both of them now.

"He catches on quick; just an outstanding athlete. That helps in all sports."

For the rest of the summer, Salamah plans to continue playing in the GO Junior Series, and he'll also compete in an upcoming U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier.

More so than anything, though, he just wants to get ready for the fall season ahead.

"We're gonna have a really good year," Salamah said. "I'm really excited, and I think our coach is excited, too."

A season-high 72 golfers played in Monday's event. Additional male division winners included Owensboro's Braden Whistle (78, 13-15 Championship); Owensboro's Seth Moore (41, 13-15, nine holes); Leitchfield's Jackson Mayes (40, 11-12); Owensboro's Andrew Powell (39, 9-10, six holes); and Madisonville's Cole Crick (12, 8-and-under, three holes).Female division winners were Henderson's Kally Priest (83, 16-18 Championship); Owensboro's Holly Holton (85, 13-15 Championship); Henderson's Erica Henderson (58, 13-15, nine holes); Owensboro's Alexa Salamah (48, 11-12); Hardinsburg's Adelynn Moorman (34, 9-10, six holes).

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