Carter aces 1-A/AA test

Photo by Dave Boyd
ElizabethtonÕs Eric Carter, tapping in a short putt, was the top individual player.

By Wes Holtsclaw
UNICOI--When a team has its top four golfers in the individual top ten, there's a pretty good chance it is going to win the tournament.
That was how things fell for the Sullivan Central Cougars, who placed three golfers in the top five of the individual rankings and won the overall team event in the District 1-A/AA tournament at the Buffalo Valley Country Club.
But they couldn't take the tops on the individual charts.
That honor went to Elizabethton Cyclone Eric "Aaron" Carter, who tore up the tough course and helped lead Elizabethton to second-place honors in the team event and advance to regionals.
"It was a pretty good round," said Carter. "I hit all of my shots pretty solid and played a lot better."
A hole that plagued many of the younger players and teams was No. 11 on the course, which had a tough uphill climb on its greens.
"Number 11 was really bad," he said. "Most of my team had 5 or 6 putts on it and the green was really slick."
It was a disappointing day for Elizabethton's eldest golfer, Bradley Brown, who shot a 90, but a consistent number from team members Jacob Thomas (91) and Craig Shaw (93) helped Coach Dave Rider's crew make another regional tournament with a 349.
Locally, two other golfers will make the region tournament as Unaka senior Chad Lewis and Johnson County's Matt Stout and Jesse Gilbert finished in the top additional five singles not making it on team results.
"I started out pretty good, then I got to the back and had a few double bogeys in a row," said Lewis, who was just one-over on the back nine and finished seventh overall in the individual rankings with an 84.
"I didn't really play that good on the back nine, but I'm happy with an 84 and happy to get to the regionals," he added. "That was my goal."
Stout finished ninth overall with a 78, and fourth in additional players behind Volunteer's Adam Arnold and Tyler Smith, who shot 80 and 85, respectively.
"It was pretty good on the front, but it got tougher on the back because we haven't seen it before," said Arnold. "But it was one of my goals when I started this year to be able to go to the regional."
Central and Elizabethton were the only two troops that didn't have a top-four player shoot a 100 round at Buffalo Valley. It showed in the Cougars' score.
Dustin Moody and Patrick Dunford led the Blountville-based squad with a 78 and 79, while Jason Forter's 80 and Brian Shipley's 87 made the leading tally 324.
University High, led by Daniel Foster's 79 effort, pulled out the third slot while Volunteer (385) and Johnson County (395) were neck-and-neck for fourth and fifth in the team results.
Happy Valley had a solid day behind Nate Howell, finishing sixth with 403. Ricky Morgan and Matt Howell added 98 apiece for the Warriors while B.J. Townsend shot a 111.
Unicoi County was seventh with 415, Sullivan North eighth with 433, while Unaka and Hampton rounded out the top ten at 436 and 474, respectively.
Daniel McInturff added a 94 for the Rangers, while Dustin Crumley had a solid day of 93 for the Bulldogs.
The girls competition was delayed after nine holes due to the lack of competition. Entrants from University High and Happy Valley will continue play at Monday's regional tournament at Elizabethton or Pine Oaks.