MANCHESTER — Although they finished a dozen strokes apart, both Bradley County golfers are tied for 29th place in their respective TSSAA Class AAA State Championship after Tuesday’s opening round.
Bradley Central’s Chase Montgomery fired a 4-over-par 76 on the WillowBrook Golf and Country Club course in his first state tournament appearance, while Katie Bishop, of Walker Valley, had a tough back nine on her way to an 88.
Both local golfers returned to the course this morning for the final 18 holes.
Starting on the 10th tee, Montgomery carded a birdie and four pars in his first nine holes, but a pair of bogeys and a double bogey had him at 3-over at the turn. The Bear junior opened his final nine holes with his second birdie of the day and with a half dozen pars and a couple of bogeys shot a 1-over 37 on the front nine.
“The front nine is easier then the back on that course (WillowBrook),” Montgomery had said last week before heading to Manchester for the event. “You want a good score on the front and then hang on on the back.”
Montgomery’s 76 tied him with three other golfers for the 29th spot, all of which are eight strokes off the bistering pace set by senior Anday Arjuna, who shot a 4-under 68 on the opening day, putting his Siegel team in the lead by three strokes.
Hendersonville’s Noah Trenkler was the only other golfer to break 70 with a 69, while a total of seven players broke par.
Also starting on the back nine, Bishop stumbled a bit out of the gate with a half dozen bogeys, plus a double- and triple-bogey on the back nine to be plus 11 at the turn. The junior making her second state tournament appearance opened the second half of her round with three straight pars. She had six pars on the front nine but a pair of double bogeys marred an otherwise strong finish.
Bishop was tied with Hardin County senior Sarah Holland, 17 strokes behind first-day leader Samantha Gotcher. The senior posted a 1-under 71 for a two-stroke advantage on her nearest competitors and helped her Clarksville team to a three-stroke lead in the team standings.
At last fall’s state tournament Bishop also struggled in the opening round, shooting an 83, but came back the second day with a 75 to earn an 11th place individual finish and help Walker Valley to a state runner up showing in the team competition.
Ooltewah junior Samantha Griffith was tied for eighth place after an opening round 38-40 — 78.