Longhorn golfer strive for improvement

By Marvin Birchfield

   The Johnson County golf team has high expectations for this season as they try to improve on a disappointing effort from last year.
   "We didn't have that good of a season last year. We only won about eight or ten matches, and finished fourth in the district," said Johnson County coach Steve Arnold.
   One thing that will probably help the Longhorns this year is the fact that the district tournament will be played on their home turf at Roan Valley.
   "Our first goal this season is to make it to the regionals," Arnold said, "and we get to host the district, so that should be an advantage for us."
   A strong horse for Johnson County is senior Matt Cornett, who is expected to go pretty far this season on individual performance.
   "Matt, he's playing even par golf right now, and he's already knocked three strokes off his average from last year," said Arnold.
   The Longhorns have some experience going in, as they are headed up by three seniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
   Unfortunately, Cornett is the only one that shoots below 40, and this is going to make it difficult for the team advancing, unless someone can step it up and improve on their game.
   "Matt is a head of everyone else, and Nick Arnold, Josh Rock, Gary Evans, Scotty Cornett and Matt Stout are all able of shooting in the 40s," said Arnold.
   The Longhorns have been practicing all summer so far, and it seems to be paying off for them because they have already trimmed their average from last season considerably.
   "We've practiced all summer starting at seven o'clock in the morning, and they've played just about everyday," said Arnold. "Some of them have played in tournaments, and we have already cut our average from last year by 10 strokes."
   Arnold thinks once they can consistently get into a routine practice, then they will pick up on their averages.
   "Once we get to playing three days a week, then everybody should be shooting 45 or less, and that's about what you have to have in high school," said Arnold.
   Even though Johnson County is going to be an improvement, it will still be hard for them to become the top team in the conference.
   "I think we will be in the top three. University High and Elizabethton will both be hard to beat, and Sullivan Central will be pretty strong," said Arnold.
   Still, Arnold says that having the chance to play the district at Roan Valley should give the 'Horns a three-to-four stroke advantage over the competition.
   There's not really one area that Johnson County feels like it needs to work on than any other, but the one thing they do desire is consistency.
   "We just need to get in a groove, along with the routine of playing Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays," said Arnold. "I'm real pleased with all of them. Through the first few matches they have really opened my eyes of how good they're playing right off the bat."