Locals excel in Sneds event

By JOE CANNON
Posted 6/12/19

Bradley County golfers won four of the five age divisions they competed in Tuesday as the TGA Sneds Tour came to town, with the final bracket decided by a playoff.

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Locals excel in Sneds event

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Bradley County golfers won four of the five age divisions they competed in Tuesday as the TGA Sneds Tour came to town, with the final bracket decided by a playoff.

A total of 46 junior linksters gathered at the Chatata Valley Golf Club on a beautiful day after heavy rains drenched the area over the weekend.

With 34 boys competing in eight age divisions and a dozen girls in three others, the summer junior tour stop provided plenty of action.

"It's always a good day when the kids come out to play," declared Chatata Valley general manager Joe Starr. "We only got a little over two inches of rain over the weekend, so we didn't get as much as a lot of people did, so the course was in good shape.

"It was a perfect day. About 58 degrees when they teed off, with low humidity and a nice breeze." 

The tightest race of the day came in the Boys 16-18 Masters where a pair of TSSAA State Tournament veterans battled to extra holes.

Recent McMinn Central graduate John Houk has played in four TSSAA state events, finishing seventh and third the last two years, and Walker Valley senior-to-be Dalton Sutton, who will be shooting for his fourth straight TSSAA state berth this fall, tangled for the Boys 16-18 Masters crown.

The pair shot 3-over-par 75s before going to a playoff, the Athens linkster won.

Houk opened his round with a birdie, but gave that shot back two holes later with a bogey on No. 3. He did the same just a little later with a birdie on the par-4 seventh hole and a bogey on the par-3 eighth to turn at even par.

On the back nine, Houk posted a half-dozen pars and a trio of bogeys on holes 14, 16 and 17 for a 39 down the stretch.

Sutton drained 15 par putts on the day, with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 for a 38 on the front side.

The lanky linkster had just one bogey after the turn on the par-4 15th hole for a 37 on the back nine.

The pair outdistanced Tunnel Hill, Georgia's Alex Backelew, 40-39 — 79, by four strokes and Bradley Central's JT McKenzie by six.

McKenzie had an up-and-down round, shooting 41 on the front and 40 on the back side for a 9-over 81. He had a birdie on the par-4 11th hole, but bogeyed 10 holes and parred seven.

Bradley Dunkle, of Englewood, rounded out the top boys division with an 87.

David Dansby claimed a four-shot win in the six-player Boys 16-18 Tour division.

The Walker Valley senior-to-be had a trio of bogeys on the front side for a 39 at the turn and finished with a 42 down the stretch for a 9-over 81.

Josh Loveday took second in the class with an 85, while Etowah's Forrest Atkins shot an 88 for third.

In the Boys 13-15 Tour division, Eli Adams ran away from the nine-member field with a 7-over 79 to win by 10 strokes.

Austin Jackson of Bridgeport, Alabama, was second with an 89, while local linksters Jonas Rayfield and Walker Hill were third and fourth at 92 and 94 respectively.

Another Bradley County golfer, Elisha Silver, was sixth with a 103.

It was a battle of local golfers in the Boys 13-under Masters with Tripp Hall shooting a 6-over 42 (on nine holes) for a five-shot win over Cody Skipper's 47.

Playoffs were needed in Micro division play to determine winners.

In the Boys 10-11, Maryville's Leo Huddleson and Brayden Helle, of Signal Mountain, both shot 41s. Huddleson won the extra play, while Jackson Brown of Rocky Face, Georgia, was third just a stroke off the pace at 42.

In the 8-9 division, Wil Huddleson matched his brother's win with a playoff victory over Cullen Jerke, of Chattanooga. Both linksters fired 2-over 38s in regulation.

In the girls play, Cleveland Middle School seventh-grader-to-be Darbi Shay topped the 12-18 nine-hole play with a 7-over 43.

"Darbi is an up-and-comer," proclaimed Starr. "She beat some high school girls."

Local sisters Ainsley and Allie Oliver took second and third in the division with a 45 and 48 respectively, while Emma Claire Smith was fifth with a 60.

Cora Mount of Chickamauga, Georgia, won the 12-18 year old, 18-hole division with a 9-over 81, while Ireland O'Conner took the 8-11 Micro with a 52.

The Sneds Tour will return to town July 8 at the Cleveland Country Club, which will also host a Sneds Elite event Aug. 24-25.  

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