Of the seven golfers who broke 80 at the Chatata Valley course on a beautiful Tuesday, three will either be sophomores or freshmen in high school this fall.
“It’s great to see these young girls playing so well,” commented 33-time City champion Maggie Scott, who along with five-time winner Linda Mullins, is tied for the overall lead after shooting 3-over-par 75s.
Just two shots back of the pair at 5-over are four players including Rheagan Hall, who just graduated from Cleveland Middle School two months ago, and Walker Valley sophomore-to-be Kelsey Cassada.
Local standout veteran golfers Lisa Daubner and Rita Hannah also fired 77s.
Polk County High School sophomore Danielle Bates is in the hunt as well after carding a 7-over 79 on her home course.
Hall, Cassada and Bates are trying to do something that has only been accomplished twice in the 56-year history of the event — to claim the Junior Division’s Connie Day Cup with a lower score than the City champ.
Current Tennessee Tech University golfer Lydia Triplett edge Scott 154-155 in the final tally last summer, while in 2006 former Ole Miss golfer Sara Grantham blistered the courses for an amazing 8-under-par 136.
This year’s City Tournament will move to the Cleveland Country Club for the final 18 holes Thursday.
As has been the case for the last few decades, Scott and Mullins are once again in the forefront of the ladies’ event heading into the final round.
Mullins had a one-stroke lead at the turn but had to sink a birdie putt on the final hole to knot the score with her longtime friend.
“I started the day with a bogey, and was lucky to get that, but I recouped pretty well,” remarked Mullins. “I made several good, par-saving putts, but I had a three-putt on 12 that hurt.”
Mullins shot even par on the front nine, but slipped to a 39 after the turn. She had a birdie on hole No. 5 to go with her one on 18.
Scott’s only birdie of the day came on the next-to-last hole as she fired a 1-over 37 on the front nine and a 38 on the back.
“I putted poorly and Linda putted good,” the 11-time Tennessee Golf Association Senior Player of the Year stated. “I threw away three strokes chipping and putting.”
Playing in the same foursome, Daubner stayed within striking distance of her friends with a 39 before the turn and a 38 to finish out.
Hannah was in the group behind them and shot a 1-under 35 on the opening nine holes, but slipped to a 42 down the stretch. Former professional tennis player Kay McDaniel rounds out the Championship Flight with an 82.
The action was just as heated among the Junior Division players with Hall matching Hannah’s 1-under 35 on the front nine, including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6, for the lowest half-round of the day. However, she opened the door for her competitors with a 42 after the turn.
Cassada, who was riding in the same cart as Hall, took advantage of the opportunity, trimming three shots off her 40 at the turn with a 1-over 37, including a birdie on No. 14, down the stretch.
Bates, who along with Walker Valley freshman Whitney Kincaid rounded out the junior foursome, shot a 39-40 to be just two shots back of the leaders heading into the final round.
Beth Harper sank a birdie putt on No. 5 to help her to a three-stroke lead in the event’s First Flight after carding an 87. Delores Haynie and Robin Russell are tied for second with 90s, while Kay Shelton is in fourth place with a 94.
Wanda Evans, Sue Inman and Judy Ozawa are within three strokes of each other atop the Second Flight list. Evans has a one-stroke lead on Inman, while Ozawa is just two shots behind Inman. Mary Lou Miller is in fourth place in the flight.
Jola Burch has a strong three-stroke edge in the Third Flight competition, while Sue Ogle and Phyllis Tyner are just a shot apart in second and third place. Madelaine Cofer and Honey Climer are also looking to make a run up the flight’s ladder.
In the team competition, the Cleveland Country Club squad hold a 140-156 advantage over the Chatata Valley gals.
Thursday Tee Times
at Cleveland Country Club
Danielle Bates-Whitney Kincaid
Rheagan Hall-Kelsey Cassada
Honey Climer-Madelaine Cofer
Sue Ogle-Jola Burch-Phyllis Tyner
Mary Lou Miller-Judy Ozawa-Sue Inman
Wanda Evans-Kay Shelton-Delores Haynie
Robin Russell-Beth Harper-Kay McDaniel
Rita Hannah-Lisa Daubner-Linda Mullins-Maggie Scott