As temperatures drop, so do number of teams at county
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
March 26, 2014 04:00 AM | 1431 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wearing some extra layers and a winter cap to stay warm as he played in the county tournament, Etowah’s Jake Haggerty had the low round Tuesday with a 73 at Fairways of Canton. 
<BR>Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter
Wearing some extra layers and a winter cap to stay warm as he played in the county tournament, Etowah’s Jake Haggerty had the low round Tuesday with a 73 at Fairways of Canton.
Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter
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CANTON — After the first day of the Cherokee County Golf Championships, both the girls and boys fields saw their teams cut in half.

The girls, which competed Monday at Fairways of Canton, completed nine holes of their 18-hole tournament. The boys competed Tuesday at Fairways, playing an 18-hole round, and will play another 18 when the event concludes Thursday.

While none of the teams wanted to be eliminated, all of them were eager to get out of the cold weather that saw many of the athletes dressed in gear not very indicative for the spring.

During the first round of the boys event Tuesday, several golfers donned gloves in between shots, and nearly all were wearing winter hats as snow flurries could be seen in the air.

When all was said and done, the scores were higher than any coach would like, but three girls and three boys teams were moving on to the second round.

In the boys tournament, Etowah, Creekview and Woodstock moved on. Etowah shot 323 in the first round, followed by defending champion Creekview (338) and Woodstock (343).

Etowah coach Phil Dutko said he was pleased with the standings, but not with the scores.

“I’m definitely satisfied with the standings any time you have a 15-stroke lead on a good team like Creekview, especially since they are the returning champions,” Dutko said. “At the same time, since we have had the lead the last two years and then blown it on the second day, we are cautiously optimistic.”

Creekview coach Jimmy Thigpen is also optimistic.

Last year, the Grizzlies were third entering the second day of what was then just an 18-hole event, and Creekview surged up to win the county title.

With the weather expected to improve before Thursday, and with 18 more holes to play, Thigpen said his players are capable of another surge.

“Doing 36 holes instead of 18 this year, there is a whole lot more golf left, so anything can happen Thursday,” Thigpen said. “(Tuesday) was pretty brutal for the kids with the cold and wind and snow. They battled through the elements. Hopefully, with nicer weather on Thursday, they can concentrate on the game instead of the elements. You never know, we can get back in it.”

Scoring for Creekview were Brady Keran (75), Kip Denison (80), Alex Stevens (90) and Jon Moyer (94).

Leading Etowah Jake Haggerty, who carded a 73. Phil Strickland (80), Nick Budd (84) and Josh Colley (86) also saw their scores count toward the team total.

Woodstock’s low scorers were Andrew Dodd (80), Kevin Burns (85) and Alex Burgess (86).

Dutko said he warned his players about getting overly excited about having the first-round lead.

“I basically told them, if we are leading, so what,” Dutko said. “The ones who are playing have been beaten over the last few years. They know that leading after Day 1 is no reason to celebrate at all. In fact, no one was celebrating this year like they were last year. I think they are handling it a lot more maturely and responsibly based on what has happened in the past.”

Sequoyah (364), Cherokee (373) and River Ridge (378) missed the cut, but still have plenty to play for with region titles and state playoff berths at stake over the next few weeks.

In the girls tournament, Creekview led after the first round, followed by Etowah.

The Lady Grizzlies’ Megan Nay and Lauren Bird each shot 37, while Claire Roop contributed 43 to bring the team’s score to 117 through nine holes.

Etowah advanced at 131, as did Woodstock (134).

Etowah was led by Tyler Dawson (42) and Melanie Talbott (43), while Taylor Anthony and Ashley Anthony each shot 46, though only one counted toward the team total.

Low scorers for Woodstock were Abby Bolt (40), Madison Blackburn (42) and Madi Dalton (49).

Cherokee (154), Sequoyah (171) and River Ridge (178) did not make the cut.

The surviving girls and boys teams will play the final round Thursday at Fairways of Canton, with play beginning at 2:30 p.m.
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