Nall drives past competition to SSJC orange jacket

By PATRICK MacCOON Sports Writer
Posted 7/17/17

Exhibiting composure throughout the three-day, three-course Southern States Junior Classic, Cleveland’s Hannah Nall was able to put on the orange jacket.

An avid golfer since the age of 4, the …

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Nall drives past competition to SSJC orange jacket

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Exhibiting composure throughout the three-day, three-course Southern States Junior Classic, Cleveland’s Hannah Nall was able to put on the orange jacket.

An avid golfer since the age of 4, the projected high school class of 2022 graduate was even able to post the best score of any in the girls’ 13-18 age group.

After stroke totals of 74 at Georgia’s WindStone Golf Club and 76 at Bear Trace the previous two days, Nall concluded her masterful play with a strong 79 total at Cleveland Country Club Sunday.

With a plus-13 for the entire Classic, Nall won her sixth tournament of the year and finished six strokes ahead of the next-best female golfer.

“To win this tournament is very special to me,” said Nall, who was excited to shoot in the 70s at her home course on the final day. “Last year I didn’t do so well in this Classic. It feels like The Masters for me, because it is the only tournament I have been able to win a jacket at.”

Nall had good control of her shots and came through with seven birdie putts over the three days, as she was accompanied by brother and caddie Ethan Chastain.

Her improved play will be put to the test next when she travels to Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the U.S. Kids World Championship Aug. 3-5.

“My practice has helped my game out huge lately,” said Nall, whose favorite golfers include Dustin Johnson and Lexie Thompson. “I really have focused on my short game and I have been working on a swing change since March. I feel really good right now.”

While her father could not watch much of her play, as Jason Nall ran the second annual Southern States Junior Classic, he was proud of his daughter’s play and the turnout.

A total of 39 golfers (24 boys) from eight states competed in the weekend tournament, which consisted of seven different age groups.

“The weekend went great and we are looking forward to more growth for years to come,” the SSJC director said.

“What makes us different is we allow caddies and a coach or family members to spend three days on three different courses with the athlete. When they leave here, the golfer and coach/mentor have a better feel for their golf game and how to keep improving.”

Other orange jacket champions included: Noah Jones (boys 16-18), Patton Samuels (boys 13-15), David Oliver IV (boys 10-12), Tyler Watts (boys 7-9), McKenzie Frizzell (girls 16-18), Kylee Lynn (girls 10-12).

“Some people might tell you the state color of Tennessee is orange, so we wanted to tie into our area with the orange jacket when we first started this Classic,” Jason Nall said. “Some from Alabama, on the other hand, may think of it as Auburn orange,” he quipped. “It’s a cool thing to give our champions, and something they will always have and remember.”

Jones birdied the 18th hole to finish 3-under for the Classic with a remarkable 71-stroke total in his final round.

Watts finished 6-under in the youngest boys age group while Carson Daniel (-5) and Colton Watson (-2) were also impressive.

Seven local golfers participated in the three-day event, which featured new greens throughout.

Walker Valley senior Cade Puryear shot 70, 70 and 73 to finish even for the weekend and earn a second place finish in the boys 16-18 grouping. He sunk 10 birdies over the weekend.

Walker Valley graduate and Tennessee Wesleyan signee Kelsey Cassada shot 256 to finish in second place in the girls 16-18.

Kyndall Shamblin was fourth in the 13-15 girls group with a total of 246, which included her weekend best stroke total of 80 on the final day.

Youngsters Trip Hall finished third in the 10-12 boys division with a 264 total, while 7-year old Hayden Nall shot a 159 (27 holes) for a 159 total.

Nall was also the youngest player in the tournament and shot a weekend-best 44 at Bear Trace despite a 2-hour weather delay.

Whitney Kincaid, also of Cleveland, shot a 275 total for third place in the girls 16-18.

The country club not only made for a strong finish, but was the site for the opening ceremonies.

“Lamar Mills (CCC golf pro) and the Cleveland Country Club have been great partners from the get-go,” Jason Nall said. “We also want to thank our two strong sponsors who helped us get this started, in Industrial Valve of Cleveland and MD Hospitality of Chattanooga. It was a great weekend.”

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patrick.maccoon@clevelandbanner.com

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