As it has for several years, a chance to play the challenging Cleveland Country Club course drew a big crowd for Monday’s Tennessee Golf Association Toyota Junior Tour stop.
“We had about 95 signed up,” commented CCC general manager Lamar Mills. “The kids enjoy the chance to get to play here. It’s usually one of the (tour) events that has a waiting list.”
Despite a 45-minute rain delay after play had been underway for a little over an hour, the event “went very well and everybody had a great time,” according to Mills. “We had just the one delay, so under the circumstances everything went great.”
Five of the 13 age divisions winners were from Bradley County, including the two top scores of the day — Dylan Lillard shooting even-par and 9-year-old Kyndall Shamblin continuing her recent hot streak with a 1-over half round.
Cleveland High’s Conner Caprara claimed the Boys 16-18 Masters crown, while Walker Valley’s Katie Medley and Cleveland Middle’s Olivia Williams captured division wins in the girls’ action.
Playing in the Boys 13-15 Masters division, Lillard posted matching 36s for his 72 total playing from the back tees, which covers a distances of 6,659 yards. The Walker Valley sophomore-to-be claim the 18-hole low medalist honors by a wide margin as Knoxville’s Kayland Boling was his closest competition with a 9-over 81 to win the Girls’ 16-18 Masters.
The Cleveland Country Club also held another of its free summer golf clinics Monday with three more scheduled for the month of July (1, 22, 29). “The turnout has been a little low because of the rainy weather we had on Mondays, but anyone still wanting to come out is welcome,” stated Mills.
The free lessons, which were started by the late Bill “Chief” Robertson and ran for years, are for youngster ages 5-17. The younger players (ages 5-10) go from 8 to 9:30 a.m. each day, while the 11-17-year-old session is from 9:45-11:15.
In his age bracket, Lillard blew away playing partners Eli Freeman of Morrison and Athens’ Tanner Harris by 20 and 23 strokes. No other male golfer in the event played the CCC 18 in less than 10-over par tallies.
Monday was Lillard’s second win on the summer tour as he captured top honors at the Champions Club in Ooltewah earlier this month.
Having played her last three tour events at a combined score of 1-over par, Shamblin continued her hot summer streak as her 37 nine-hole total gave her a 10-stroke victory in the Girls’ 8-11 Micro division.
The Prospect Elementary student also won recent TGA tour titles at Waterville Golf Course, where she shot a 1-under 35 last Thursday and Chatata Valley with a 1-over score a couple of weeks ago. Shamblin’s nearest competition in her age bracket came from Kinsley Skiffen of Chatsworth, Ga., who carded an 11-over 47.
Shamblin and Lillard were two of just five golfers who broke 40 on a half-round Monday with Walker Valley’s Katie Medley, Cade Puryear of Riceville and Signal Mountain’s Peyton Ogle all carding a 39.
Puryear and Ogle only played nine holes in winning the Boys 13-under Masters and Boys 8-9 Micro divisions, while Medley’s 39 was the back nine of an 86 total to give her a two-stroke win in the Girls 15-under Masters.
Medley, a sophomore-to-be for the Walker Valley golf team, overcame a four-stroke deficit at the turn to edge her future Lady Mustang teammate Kelsey Cassada, who shot an 88. Cassada, who played at Ocoee Middle last season, was the low-medalist at both the middle school district and region tournaments.
Puryear edged out Cleveland’s Parker Gray and Bryson Morrell of Knoxville, who both were right on his heels with 40s, in the Boys 13-under Masters race. Cleveland’s Nicholas McCracken, Drew Linkous and Gage Brakebill also competed in the division, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth with scores of 44, 45 and 53 respectively.
Caprara overcame a three-stroke deficit to Raider teammate Carson Griffin at the turn and finished strong with a 4-over 40 on the back nine for an 86 and a four-stroke victory. Griffin finished with a 90 and held on for second place, edging Chattanooga’s Trent Mansfield by a stroke.
Williams carded a consistant 47-45 for a 92 and a seven-stroke win in the Girls’ 12-18 Tour class. Polk County’s Lauren Passmore took second in the age bracket with a 99.
Cleveland High’s Heidi Barringer captured runner-up honors in the Girls 16-18 Masters, posting a 43-46 — 89. Boling won the division with her 81.
Walker Valley’s Kyle Limburg tied for third place in the Boys 15-18 Tour division, carding a 41-46 — 87, which put him four shots back of Signal Mountain’s Graham Leach.
OMS golfer Kaylee Gregg finished fifth in the Girls’ 12-18 Tour division with a nine-hole 60, while schoolmate Matthew Marino did the same in the Boys 10-13 with a 52.
In the largest division of the day, 22 golfers battled in the Boys 13-15 Tour with Cade Caprara the top local finisher with a 103 for 14th, while Charleston’s Luke Benton (113) and Cleveland’s Jayce Lewis also competed.