Extremely tough on their home course at Chatata Valley, both Mustang squads notched a pair of victories Wednesday in a District 5-AAA tri-match with Bradley Central and Rhea County.
“Consistency is the key,” declared Walker Valley coach Bob Williams after both his teams improved to 3-1 on the young season. “We had four boys in the 30s again, plus Katie (Bishop) broke par and got some good support from the other girls.”
The Mustangs posted a four-man total of just 5-over-par, galloping to victory with a 149 total. The Bears (1-3) picked up their first win of the season with a 157 for second place in Wednesday’s play. The Golden Eagles shot 184.
After dropping their season opener by a single stroke, the Lady Mustangs have bounced back with three straight wins this week. The Walker Valley “fillies” posted a 78, while the Bearettes suffered their first loss of the season but sit at 3-1 also after shooting 85 to nip Rhea County’s 87.
“When you shoot in the 70s in girls’ matches, you’re going to win,” Williams assessed.
A member of the TSSAA state runner-up squad last fall, Bishop claimed her third straight low-medalist honors, needing just 35 strokes to get around Chatata Valley’s front nine.
She was the only player (male or female) to break par in the match.
“She missed a 5-foot birdie putt on her final hole or her score would have been even better,” Williams said of the junior’s top performance of the season. “She’s improving every time she plays. She has dedicated herself to the game and it shows.”
The Lady Mustang coach also had praise for sophomore Haley Ellis, who scored in her first varsity match with a 43. “She (Ellis) qualified for a starting spot in Tuesday’s practice and she played well. Katie Medley had a good day as well with a 44.”
Bradley Central senior Sloane Rakestraw, who tied for low-medalist honors with a 44 in a three-way match Tuesday at the Cleveland Country Club, shaved seven stroke off her game Wednesday with a 1-over-par 37.
Junior Kierstyn Blair also improved her previous day’s tally by a half dozen strokes with a 48 as the Bearettes split their two matches.
Julie Keener led the Rhea County effort with a 42, while Cierra Holland posted a 45.
In the boys’ action, Walker Valley senior Zach Kilby and Bradley junior Chase Montgomery tied for low medalist with even-par rounds of 36.
“Zach (Kilby) had a strange round. He easily could have been three or four under, but he missed a close putt for eagle. He had some good holes and some not so good, but ended up even,” expressed Williams.
Junior Garrett Cantrell has been in the top two of scoring in every Mustang match so far this season and was again Wednesday with a 1-over 37. “He’s been solid. His game is real steady. He’s been one of our top guys so far,” declared Williams.
The Walker Valley score was rounded out by a pair of 2-over 38s from freshman Dillon Lillard and junior Jordan Leggett.
“Dillon (Lillard) was outstanding again, but the one who really saved us was Jordan (Leggett),” the Mustang mentor explained. “Hunter Carroll, who normally scores for us, was sick today and shot a 41, but Jordan stepped up and gave us a good score to take his place.”
Walker Valley’s sixth man, freshman Cory Rollins, fired a 42.
Along with Montgomery’s 36, senior Matt Whitmire helped the Bradley total with a 2-over 38, while classmate Corey Bandy carded a 41 and freshman Baylor McGowan shot 42.
Christian Wilson led the Rhea County squad with a 42, while Chase Watson shot 44. Drew Gunter (45) and Seth Jones (48) rounded out the Eagle tally.
In Wednesday’s edition of the Banner, Polk County sophomore Lauren Massengill was incorrectly listed. She helped the Lady Wildcats to a 19-stroke victory over Copper Basin with a 46.