Golfers prepare for first 18-hole girls tournament
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
April 14, 2013 12:16 AM | 1035 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cherokee County will hold its first 18-hole girls golf championship Monday and Tuesday at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club.

While Creekview and Etowah are considered the favorites, Woodstock has a chance to get in on the action. One advantage the Lady Wolverines have going for them is their familiarity with the course.

Both Etowah and Woodstock have played the course throughout their season, hosting many home matches there. But during competition, the teams only play the front nine.

With the teams teeing off on the front nine Monday, and the back nine Tuesday, Etowah coach Jamie Nelson admits most of the players will probably shoot their best on the opening day. With a couple of players who live on the course, the Lady Eagles might have some additional familiarity with the back nine.

“Not everybody has played the back nine,” Nelson said. “I think it will be a little tougher on everybody on Tuesday. Everybody does matches on the front nine. Not many have had a chance to see the back nine.”

Woodstock coach Derek Engram, whose team uses Towne Lake Hills as its home course, agrees.

“On the front nine, they are as familiar as anyone who has ever played it,” he said.

The county championship comes on the heels of spring break, but coaches don’t feel it will have a major effect on the event, with many of their players playing golf during their time off of school.

Nelson said a couple of his players competed in individual tournaments during the week. Engram said his No. 1, Madison Blackburn, played in a tournament at Jekyll Island.

“She will come in with, hopefully, a little readiness,” he said. “Hopefully, that will parlay into something good.”

Engram said he has one other golfer, who shoots a typical nine-hole round in the mid-40s, who might be able to do something special. But the event will be a challenge for his two freshmen.

“It will be a test for them going to an 18-hole format,” Engram said. “We are going to try to roll the dice and catch lightning in a bottle.”

River Ridge coach Ansley Sand said her team isn’t as competitive as some of the others in the county, which may be attributed to the fact that the school is the only one in the county that does not have a golf community in its zone. Still, she says her girls are familiar with the Towne Lake Hills course.

“We have played it three or four times this year, and a couple times last year,” she said.

Sand said that while her team hasn’t practiced in more than a week, true golfers play even when it isn’t scheduled practice time.

“True golfers live, breathe, eat golf,” she said.

Several of Creekview’s golfers played a round at the course during break.

“They played the back side for the first time,” coach Casey Gramling said. “I think they are a little nervous about it because they know the Etowah girls know the course real well. I think it will be a good match. The girls take this just as seriously as the region championship.”

While several of the teams have played each other during the course of the season, they aren’t all familiar with one another. Creekview, for example, has played Etowah, but has not seen Cherokee, Sequoyah or River Ridge this year.

One thing that is certain, however, is that anything can happen. A year ago, in a nine-hole championship at Canton Golf Club, Creekview’s Whitney Stevenson won a playoff to earn the county title.

“We’ll see what happens Monday and Tuesday,” Nelson said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to go out and play. Creekview, obviously is a very strong team, but also Woodstock and Cherokee can be threats as well. We just played River Ridge this week, and they have shown improvement, too. It should be a very good event.”
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