“There were a lot of good things that came out of it,” Etowah coach Jamie Nelson said. “At the end of the day, they all felt pretty good. Each of them knows they left some shots out there, but we feel like we are at a good spot. We haven’t peaked yet, but our confidence is growing.
“It wasn’t just a good opportunity to see how my No. 1 matched up, but also a good chance to see my freshman (Jordan Kalteux), who doesn’t have a lot of experience, get out there and play.”
The tournament, which was held at Hard Labor Creek Golf Course in Rutledge, is different from others in that teams don’t compete together. Individuals are entered into flights based on their previous scores, which are submitted. Schools aren’t limited to how many players they can enter.
“It’s a real good tournament for girls because you can put in more girls,” Nelson said. “Most tournaments, you can only put in your top four girls, like in a match, but here you can put in as many girls as you have or as many girls as you want to. There aren’t team awards, just individual.”
The elite group is the championship flight, followed by flights A, B, C and D. Competitors in the championship flight and flight A play 18 holes while B and C play nine holes. Flight D is more of a scramble event intended for new golfers.
The top three placers in each flight received a trophy.
Teams came from around the state to compete. Nelson said there were teams from as far north as Union County and as far south as Statesboro.
Unlike other years, Etowah was the only Cherokee County high school to compete. Nelson said this was because several other schools held prom this weekend. Also, several teams pulled out this year as rain forced a three-hour delay.
“I’ve done this with the girls every year but once,” Nelson said. “We do it every year when we don’t have prom.”
Melanie Talbott and Tyler Dawson competed in the championship flight. Talbott shot 79, which was good for fourth place. Dawson’s 85 earned her fifth.
Ashley Anthony shot a 91 in flight A and finished second, one stroke behind the winner. Taylor Anthony and Ana Arce also competed in flight A but did not place.
Kalteux competed in the nine-hole flight B and shot 54. She placed third after losing a two-hole playoff for second.
Nelson said it was Kalteux’s best nine-hole score to date.
Nelson said the event is a good gauge for the region, sectional and even state tournaments.
“I think it’s a good experience for the girls,” he said. “They have an opportunity to match up against girls that are close to their skill level. They have an opportunity to play against girls from all over the state and get to know them and see how things are a little different around the state. It’s even a bit of a prequel to girls they may see at sectional and state.”
As far as Etowah was concerned, it was a good litmus test. The Lady Eagles were matched against players from Walton, the front-runner for the Region 5AAAAAA title. The same two teams were also scheduled to play against one another Tuesday, but it was canceled due to the cold weather.
“We know we have a lot ways to go, but we are moving in the right direction,” Nelson said.