Wednesday, October 10, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
MANCHESTER -- With its fourth straight D-I A-AA state golf trophy securely in hand here late Wednesday afternoon at WillowBrook Golf Course, the 2013 theme for the Signal Mountain girls’ golf team could be “one for the thumb!”
Rallying from down five shots to first day leader and eventual runner-up Macon County (159-164), the Eagles relied on senior Haley Davidson (80-81—161) and freshman Bethany Burns (84-84 – 168) to win the state championship. Senior Marli Patten shot a 191.
The champion Eagles posted a 329 to win by six shots over Macon County (335), while Grainger (339) was third followed by Milan (341) and Knoxville Grace (346) to complete the top five in the eight-team competition.
Boyd-Buchanan was sixth at 362.
Davidson, who has now won a state ring for each of her four fingers, passes the torch to Burns and fellow freshman Haley Buttram to look for a five-peat.
“Haley has felt the pressure all fall to win a fourth straight team title and she played consistent golf the past two days to help us win the state championship,” said Signal Mountain Rodney Mitchell.
Macon County, who has finished sixth or better the past four years, could be Signal Mountain’s toughest obstacle to a fifth title in 2013 as Lauren Gammons (167) and Kaitlin Cartwright (168) are juniors. The Tigers four-year run: 5th (2009) … 6th (2010) … 4th (2011) … 2nd (2012).
Team Standings 1. Signal Mountain (329) 2. Macon County (335) 3. Grainger (339) 4. Milan (341) 5. Knoxville Grace (346) 6. Boyd-Buchanan (362) 7. Lexington (413) 8. Lewis County (419).
Team Standings 1. Macon County (619) 2. Alcoa (624) 3. Happy Valley (635) 4., Signal Mountain (665) 5. East Hamilton (670) 6. Cascade (676) 7. Milan (680) 8. Bolivar Central (693)
This is the first year in which the winning Eagles trailed after the first day of the state tournament.
“We lost three seniors from last year’s team so I definitely felt the pressure to win a fourth straight title,” said Davidson who finished tied for second (80-81 – 161) is an honor roll student and hopes to sign a golf college scholarship in the spring.
“Being a freshman in her first state tournament Bethany (Burns) played great today which really was the key to us winning again.”
Burns shot an 84-84 – 168, while Davidson shot an 86-84 – 170 as a freshman in 2009.
“This morning we talked about playing relaxed and having fun and doing our best,” Burns stated.
“We plan to practice hard between now and next fall to have a chance to win another title. We have to work hard and be ready to step it up again.”
Not Empty-Handed: Macon County won the boys’ championship edging runner-up Alcoa, 619-624. This is the first time a public school has won the boys’ A-AA title since Hixson in 2004. This is also the first year in the 22-year history of the A-AA division that no private schools competed for the boys’ team championship.
Chattanooga Has Good Showing: While Signal Mountain takes the team trophy back to the Scenic City, Alexander Riddle (Jr., Notre Dame) and Scott Stevens (So., Chattanooga Christian) also brought home medals, finishing second and third (tied), respectively in the boys individual competition. Signal Mountain’s Davidson tied for second in the girls’ individual play behind champion Sophia Schubert (Christian Academy of Knoxville), 146.
Riddle, who shot an opening round 76, was four back of co-leaders Stevens and Jermey Fultz (Carter) at 72 after the first day.
Riddle (76-71 – 147) shot a closing round 71 to finish one shot back of champion Sydney Chung (Madison Magnet) (75-71 – 146) as the Notre Dame junior bogeyed the final hole, while Chung earned a par and the first place medal.
“I felt good about my play the last two days and am pleased with being a state runner-up,” said Riddle a junior. “I missed some putts today that I thought I should have made, but I hit the ball well and my short game was good.”
Stevens and Cameron Dugger (Happy Valley) tied for third at 148.
“I was relaxed out there today and pleased with placing in the top three,” Stevens said. “I played in the state tournament last year and was pretty nervous, but not this year.”
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org