Church takes individual region crown

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   KINGSPORT-- The PGA Tour's slogan in television commercials is "These guys are good."
   So is Elizabethton's Tyler Church.
   Church shot a 72 to win the Region 1-A/AA golf tournament at the Cattails Tuesday afternoon.
   "I feel really good about my round today," Church said. "I would like to go down to the state tournament and make a good showing."
   Church does advance to the state, and his teammates came fairly close to joining him. They finished second in the team competition with a 332. University High won the team competition with a 323.
   Church shot a 79 at last week's District 1-A/AA tournament in Elizabethton, so he was glad to be able to improve that score en route to winning the title.
   "I played a lot better today," Church said. "I didn't play too well at the district."
   Elizabethton High School golf coach Dave Rider was very pleased with the way Church performed.
   "I'm happy for him," Rider said. "I think he's been working real hard this summer. He's been playing golf everyday. He concentrated today and did a good job."
   The state tournament has been a rarity for Elizabethton golfers, so Church's appearance at the event will be special.
   "Not many people have gone," Rider said. "I don't know how many people we have ever had go. There haven't been many, but we're real pleased. He's one of the best golfers Elizabethton's had."
   Anthony Payne also had a strong round, finishing with an 82.
   As far as the Elizabethton team, they couldn't match last week's district championship performance.
   "I was a little disappointed because we shot a 313 last week, and this week we were much, much higher," Rider said. "I don't know if they got nervous or what, but I know they're feeling bad right now. The bottom fell out of us. But we've come a long way."
   Happy Valley finished third as a team with a 335, but had a player that came very close to making the state. Bo Milhorn finished in a tie for fourth individually with a 79. The top three made the state.
   But Milhorn's snub wasn't without controversy, as there was a mix-up in the amount of kids that were supposed to move on.
   "It hurts," Milhorn said. "This is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. We were supposed to have four go, that's what the tournament director told us. That really hurts to shoot 37 on the front, then miss it by two shots knowing you didn't play your best golf on the back side.
   For Milhorn, it was the second year in a row he had just missed making the big show.
   "That's the same thing that happened last year," Milhorn said. "I shot an 80 last year and missed by one. I shot a 79 this year, and it was really a bad round. I had a lot of mess-ups and still put myself in contention. This really hurts.
   "If you're going to run a tournament, you need to look. They were looking at AAA. If you're going to run a tournament, you need to do it right."
   Brooks Tipton and Shaun Dick came through with good rounds for the Warriors, shooting 81 and 83, respectively.
   Warrior head coach Chuck Babb had nothing but good things to say about his team.
   "I was proud of them," Babb said. "They came out and tried to play their best. It's been a good season. We made it to the regionals. Just like last week, we were in it until the last group."
   Johnson County didn't make it to regional as a team, but Matt Cornett was in the individual competition. Cornett shot an 84, which was three strokes better than his district score.
   "I didn't play to my capability," Cornett said. "I got a lot of bad breaks and my putts just weren't falling."
   Cornett, a junior, hopes to improve next year when he makes his final run as a Longhorn.
   "I had a pretty good average," Cornett said. "It could have been better. I look for a stronger season next year. I put a little too much pressure on myself this year in the big tournaments."