Eagles sweep team titles in county golf tournament
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
March 28, 2014 04:00 AM | 2575 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Etowah’s Phil Strickland chips a short shot toward the 16th hole during Thursday’s second round of the county tournament at Fairways of Canton. Strickland and his Eagle teammates wrapped up the team title, keeping Creekview and Woodstock at bay. 
<BR>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Etowah’s Phil Strickland chips a short shot toward the 16th hole during Thursday’s second round of the county tournament at Fairways of Canton. Strickland and his Eagle teammates wrapped up the team title, keeping Creekview and Woodstock at bay.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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Etowah completed a near-clean sweep Thursday at Fairways of Canton, winning both team titles and the girls medalist award as the Cherokee County Golf Championships wrapped up.

It was quite an accomplishment for Etowah, which watched as Creekview won both county team titles last season. The victory was particularly sweet for the Etowah girls, who had not won a county title in 10 years.

In the boys tournament, the totals from the first 18 holes carried over to Thursday’s second round.

Etowah held a 15-stroke lead after the first round, meaning the Eagles only needed to keep distance between them and surging Creekview over the final round. They did just that and more, as the Eagles improved upon their first-round total of 323 with a second-round 316.

Jake Haggerty followed his 73 with a 79 to take home the medalist honors. Also contributing for Etowah were Nick Budd, Josh Colley and Phil Strickland.

Creekview was second — led by the individual champion, freshman Brady Keran (75-68—143) — followed by Woodstock.

Etowah coach Phil Dutko said the victory felt good after watching the team take a lead into the second day in each of the past two seasons, only to finish as runners-up both times.

“As the scores were coming it, I was feeling positive about us having that victory,” Dutko said. “The boys started to get a little bit excited, and I had to remind them again that, until that final number comes up for Creekview and us, and until the marker on the big scorecard says first place, we aren’t to show emotion. Then, as soon as that first-place went up, we were thrilled.”

Dutko said Creekview did its best to make up ground. Kip Denison and Keran posted sub-par rounds, with Denison scoring 71.

“They had two guys under par, and that kind of got me nervous during the round,” Dutko said. “Fortunately, for us, the depth of our team is our strength. From top to bottom, we had good scores, and that came through for us (Thursday).”

On the girls side, each of the teams started with a clean slate following Monday’s nine-hole qualifier. The three remaining teams played a full 18 holes Thursday to determine the winner.

Etowah, which excels in 18-hole events, claimed the team title by 14 strokes.

Melanie Talbott claimed medalist honors after shooting an 18-hole total of 74. She was followed by Tyler Dawson (78) and Taylor Anthony (90).

Etowah girls coach Craig McKinney said winning the county championship was one of his team’s goals.

“The kids really showed up (Thursday),” McKinney said. “They really played like we talked about when the lights are on you.”

McKinney conceded that his team didn’t play particularly well Monday, but they did enough to get into the championship round, and then played their best when it counted.

“The purpose of the qualifier, for us, was to take some notes and learn about the course,” McKinney said. “They did that. (On Thursday), they came out and performed well. I think the strength of our team is playing 18 holes tournaments.”

Woodstock finished second in the team standings, followed by Creekview.
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