CHATTANOOGA — Giving his upperclassmen the day off may have cost Walker Valley golf coach Bob Williams a victory but it gave his younger players some valuable links experience.
“I wanted to give our freshmen and sophomores some match experience and thought it was a good chance to do that,” the veteran golf coach explained. “Giving these guys a chance to get some match experience will help us in the long run.”
Traveling to Brown Acres to face Chattanooga Christian School, the Mustang squads got a surprise when cross-county rival Bradley Central was there as well.
“We didn’t realize Bradley was going to be there, but that was fine,” Williams remarked. “I talked with the Chattanooga Christian School coach, who runs the City Prep tournament and we are already qualified for it, so the loss today didn’t hurt us.”
The Mustangs slipped to 11-2-1 on the season after splitting the three-way match, while the Lady Mustangs improved to 13-1 with a pair of victories.
The Lady Mustangs fired a 5-over 77, while Bradley shot 94 and CCS 96. The young Mustangs carded a 165, which was five strokes shy of CCS (160), but nipped the Bears, who shot 167.
Senior Avery George once again paced the Walker Valley ladies, tying for low-medalist honors with a 1-over 37. The three-time TSSAA state tournament participant has committed to play for Middle Tennessee State University.
Junior Katie Bishop was close behind with a 4-over 40 over nine holes to round out the Lady Mustang score.
Bearette junior Sloane Rakestraw matched George’s 1-over to tie her for medalist honors, while Kierstyn Blair carded a 57 for Bradley.
“Sloane has really improved her game since last year,” Williams praised. “She’s been right there with Avery each time we’ve played them.”
Jordan Baker and Anna Pope shot 47 and 48 for the host ladies.
In the boys match, sophomore Hunter Carroll played No. 1 for the Mustangs and was just one stroke off the low-medal total with a 1-over 37.
Walker Valley rounded out its team score with a 42 from sophomore Garrett Cantrell, and 43s from sophomore Jordan Leggett and freshman Kyle Limberg.
Chase Montgomery paced the Bears with a 3-over 39, while Corey Bandy helped out with a 42. Jordan Whitmire and Hunter Chastain both posted 43s.
Scott Stevens posted the low score of the match with an even par half round on his home course, while Barrett Bickley was at 2-over for the Chargers. Lake Johnson shot a 41 and Chris Little a 45 for the hosts.
The Walker Valley and Bradley boys will get some experience on the state tournament course when they travel to Manchester to play in the Willowbrook Invitational Wednesday.