– posted by Cody Whitlock
The high school state golf tournament tees off tomorrow morning, and I’m here in Mobile to see a pair of local teams and several individual qualifiers compete for a championship.
I’ll be blogging live tomorrow, so check back often for updates. You can also follow hole-by-hole scoring at bamagolf.com.
Here’s a preivew of this year’s tournament:
The high school state golf tournament begins today in Mobile, and a pair of local teams are expected to contend for state championships.
The Hartselle High girls will make the trip to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove facility to defend their back-to-back state titles, while the Athens boys are back after finishing runner-up to Saint Paul’s last year.
“If we’re nervous, it’s not going to be because we’re at state, it’s going to be because of our personal expectations,” Hartselle freshman Heather Nail said.
Hartselle has reigned supreme in the Class 1A-5A division the past two years, as the Lady Tigers won by an 18-stroke margin last year at Hampton Cove in Huntsville. They tuned up for this week’s tournament by posting a 245 in last week’s sub-state round at Burningtree Country Club, where they won by more than 30 strokes.
Class 5A Athens, also a winner at sub-state, was 16 shots behind first-place Saint Paul’s a year ago, but the Golden Eagles return four of five golfers from last year’s team.
“All of those guys have experience,” Athens coach Don Bowling said, “and two of them have been to the state tournament twice before.
“If everybody can play their best for two days, then I think we have a chance. If they play to the level they are capable of playing, we have a chance. It’s not a question if they have the ability. These guys have shot low scores several times before. It’s whether or not they hit the shots for two days in a row.”
Hartselle’s first golfer tees off at 11:30 a.m., on the Crossings course, while Athens begins at 10 a.m., on the Falls course.
“There is always going to be that little bit of pressure as in, ‘Oh, you need to do your best’ because it is the state tournament, but it is just another tournament,” said Hartselle’s Kaylon King, a junior. “We’ll be playing with the same girls we’ve played with the whole year, so it’s not like any different.”
Competing individually in girls 1A-5A are Butler’s Rachel Brewer and Ardmore’s Ashlee Beck. Lee Hodges, of Ardmore, will compete as an individual in Class 4A boys, while Danville’s Dillon Childers is among the 3A competitors.
- CODY WHITLOCK