University High putts to district crown

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The University High Junior Bucs were solid from the start Tuesday afternoon at the Roan Valley Golf Club in Mountain City.
   Of course there was a large prize at stake: the District 1-AA Golf Championship. And after a solid group effort of 319, the boys took what they came for.
   Led by solid performances from Kyle Kirwin, who tied for first, and Russel Ingram, who took second, University High putted impressively all afternoon, and it led them to the top.
   "On the front nine, I hit it pretty good," said Kirwin. "I started with two bogeys, then I followed it up with a pair of birdies. I putted real well on the five and six footers for par on the back nine."
   Kirwin shot a 76 while Ingram took a 77 followed by Drew Harrell's 80 and Van Roberts' 86.
   Johnson County's stud golfer Matt Cornett fought through a tough back nine and eagled his way up to a tie for first place with a 76.
   "I putted well today," said Cornett. "I've been struggling with it. I hit the ball well off the tee except on the twelve with a triple bogey, but I followed that up with an eagle.
   "I threw in a birdie or two after that. I can't complain, I was striking it well and that's all I can ask for."
   The Elizabethton Cyclone golf squad had a big day finishing second in team play with a 329. Daniel Sochalski led the team with a 78, with Eric Carter's 82, Jared Collins' 83, and Bradley Brown's 86.
   "It's the best I've hit it this season," said Daniel Sochalski. "I just didn't score well. Our first guys (Collins and Brown) have been staying calm out there, both were hitting good. If I can hit it off the tee well in regionals, I will do well."
   "I started chunking it out there," said Elizabethton's number two golfer, Jared Collins. "If I was 50 yards or in every time, I'd chunk it. I dug up more dirt than a bulldozer could dig in an average day."
   The biggest shot of the day belonged to Happy Valley's Dustin White. White shot a 78, tying him with Sochalski for third, but came on with a huge hole-in-one on the 134-yard sixth hole.
   "I wasn't playing well at all," said White. "I watched Sochalski hit it short, then I used a chipping wedge and it felt pure from the moment I hit it. It took one bounce, and then it went in."
   Sullivan Central finished third with a 342, taking the final spot in the regionals with strong performances by Brian Wallace (83), Jason Fortner (84), Patrick Dunford (86), and Walt Herbert (89).
   Sullivan North finished fourh with a 354, led by Casey Carr's 83, followed by Johnson County's 367, Volunteer's 379, Happy Valley's 433, and Unicoi County's 456.