A pair of local high school golf teams hit the links north and south of the of the city in TSSAA action Tuesday.
Walker Valley made the trip up Interstate 75 to Niota for a three-way match with the East Hamilton and host McMinn County squads in an 18-hole match at Springbrook, while Bradley Central journeyed south on the same road and then cut across State Route 153 and Hixson Pike to take on Soddy-Daisy in a nine-hole match at Creekwood.
Both the Mustangs, which split their two matches, and Bearettes, which came up a little short, were minus their No. 1 players, as junior Dylan Lillard and sophomore Olivia Williams were at The Honors Course in Ooltewah participating in the Chattanooga Junior Classic finals.
Lillard claimed a 2 and 1 victory in his semifinal match Tuesday and returned to the Ooltewah course this morning to battle Jon Morgan for the 14-15 year-old crown.
Williams, which won four of the five Chattanooga Junior Golf League events this summer, couldn’t overcome “four 35-foot putts” by Taylor Gardner, according to new Bradley coach Don Burke. Gardner claimed a 2 and 1 victory to advance to the Girls 12-14 division final.
“I don’t mind him (Lillard) missing a match for something like this,” commented Walker Valley coach Bob Williams. “He’s had a great summer, winning several events, including the (Cleveland) Country Club junior and men’s championship. He thinks he’ll be able to play his match down there (Ooltewah) this morning, and get back in time for our match this afternoon.”
The Mustangs squads will host Notre Dame at 3 p.m. today at the Chatata Valley Golf Club. Both Walker Valley and Bradley will travel to the Cookeville Invitational on Monday.
After falling in a close match to East Hamilton in their season opener last week, the Mustangs claimed a 27-stroke victory over the Hurricanes Tuesday, but were a dozen shots behind the host Cherokees.
McMinn County’s 306 winning score was bolstered by matching 4-over-par 76s by Paul Houk and Tanner Harris, while Tyson Venable of East Hamilton equaled their effort to share low-medalist honors. Also without their top player — Tucker Venable, who was also playing at the Honors — the Hurricanes saw their team total swell from a 306 last week to a 345 Tuesday.
Walker Valley’s boys posted a 318 tally with junior Corey Rollins leading the way with a 5-over 77, just a stroke back of the low medalists.
A trio of freshmen rounded out the Mustang scoring as Cade Puryear and Nick McCracken both carded 80s, while Parker Grey was right on their heels with an 81. Senior Kyle Limburg was just out of the top 4 with an 83.
The Walker Valley girls saw their first action of the young season, claiming a 173-178 victory over McMinn County, while East Hamilton didn’t have enough players for a girls team.
Junior Katie Medley and sophomore Kelsey Cassada were neck-and-neck for the Lady Mustangs, firing an 86 and 87 respectively.
Lady Cherokee Mason Jewell took low-medalist honors with an 83, while Haley Johnson added a 95 to the host’s tally.
Down in Hixson, the host Soddy-Daisy squads weren’t very hospitable, with the Trojans claiming a 158-185 victory, while the Soddy girls won 86-96.
“Soddy’s scores were very consistent, all within three strokes of each other, where ours ranged from a 38 to a 54,” related Coach Burke of his first TSSAA match as the new Bear coach.
Bradley junior Tyler Parris had his best half round ever with a 4-over 38 to tie Trojan Trevor Walker for low-medalist honors.
Junior Matt Maynard helped out the Bear effort with a 44, while freshman Bailey Timmons carded a 49 in his first varsity match. Austin Martin and Jake Durgin both had 54s to round out the Bradley total, while Kyle Brogdon shot a 56.
In the girls’ match, Lady Trojan Jayla Simms fired a 40 for the low score, while Morgan Sutton added a 46.
Sophomore Blair Terrell led the Bearettes with a 43, while classmate Makenzie Randolph helped out with a 53.
“I’m proud Olivia (Williams) got to play in the Chattanooga championship. She deserved that after the great summer she’s had,” praised Coach Burke. “I think if we could have had her available, the girls’ match would have turned out differently.”