For the second straight year the Walker Valley junior have a tough time in the opening 18 holes but then came back the second day with a very impressive round to post a strong finish.
After posting one of her highest rounds of the season in Tuesday’s opening round with an 88, Bishop turned in one of her best with a 2-over-par 74 on the final 18 Wednesday at the WillowBrook Golf and Country Club in Manchester.
The 14-stroke improvement moved her up 10 places on the leaderboard for a 19th place finish in the field of 56 players. In 2011, Bishop carded an 83-75 — 158 for an 11th place finish in the state field.
Bradley Central’s Chase Montgomery fired a 4-over 76 on Monday in the boys’ championship and backed that up with an 80 on Wednesday, giving him a tie for 42nd place in his first TSSAA state tournament.
Bishop opened her final round with eight pars and a bogey on the WillowBrook back nine, and then capped off the event with a birdie and a pair of bogeys for a matching 1-over 37 on the front nine.
“I’m proud of the way she turned it around,” declared Walker Valley coach Bob Williams. “She put a lot of pressure on herself going into the tournament. I think that’s hurt her the first day. She came out Wednesday and played like she is capable of playing.”
Her 162 total put Bishop three strokes behind a pair of fellow Region 3-AAA golfers, Samantha Griffith of Ooltewah and Cookeville’s Anna Cunningham, who tied for 17th place.
Senior Samantha Gotcher not only claimed a three-stroke victory for the individual state title with a 71-70 — 141 total, but also led Clarksville to a 10-stroke (292-302) win over Farragut in the team competition.
The par 5 16th hole proved to be Montgomery’s nemesis in the initial state tournament. After carding a double-bogey 7 in Tuesday’s round on his way to his 4-over score, on Wednesday the Bear junior stumbled to a double-par 10 to account for 75 percent of the difference in his scores from the two rounds.
After shooting a 43 on the back nine to open Wednesday’s round, Montgomery was able to battle back for a strong finish with a 1-over 37 on the front nine.
Montgomery’s 156 left him tied with Parks Hatfield of Lawrence County and Knoxville Catholic’s Joe Willenborg.
With a trio of 140s at the top of the leaderboard, a three-way playoff had to be held to award the boys’ individual crown. Farragut’s Stuart Thomas was able to claim the title on the first extra hole, edging first-day leader Arjuna Anday, of Siegel, and Dickson County’s Ben Wolcott.
Murfreesboro Siegel won the boys’ team title with a 593, putting them two strokes ahead of Houston High School, out of Memphis.