Carole Fuller and Jean Roise weren’t expecting to tear up Johnson City Country Club in the first round of the Tennessee Women’s Four-Ball tournament.
Hoping was more like it.
Their hopes were answered when they teamed up almost flawlessly, putting together a six-under-par round of 66 Tuesday to take a three-stroke lead.
“Six under was pretty good,” said Fuller, a Kingsport resident who plays out of Ridgefields Country Club. “It seemed like there were very few holes that both of us were in trouble. Jean made a lot of 5- or 6-foot putts for par and that kept up going. It was a good team effort today.”
Fuller and Roise will begin today’s final round three strokes ahead of two teams. Madison Alexander, a former Science Hill golfer who starred at Lee University as a freshman, teamed with Middle Tennessee State signee Lacie York of Kingsport to shoot 69 and share second place with the team of Beth Ann Burns and Katie Legge. They were the only three teams under par.
Diane Edmonson and Kay Ward matched par at 72.
“I think today we had a lot of decent shots but we just didn’t turn it into low scores,” Alexander said. “We both did decent. You can both have a really good hole and one person’s score doesn’t count. It gets a little frustrating. Tomorrow we’ll keep the same game plan and maybe we’ll drop a few putts.”
Alexander admitted she surprised herself during her first year at Lee, where she was an All-Southern States Athletic Conference selection, the top freshman in the league and helped the team to the NAIA national tournament.
“It went better than I expected,” she said. “You go in thinking there’s a bunch of changes and things you have to do differently, but it turned out really well.”
Alexander and York counted one bogey in the better-ball format, the 18th hole, during their 69.
The leaders also counted a bogey, at the tough par-4 14th.
“We kind of messed that hole up,” said Roise, a Crossville native.
Other than No. 14, Fuller and Roise found a way to scramble for par when necessary.
“Call it ham-and-egging, but we did,” Roise said. “I think we probably each had three or four birdies.”
Roise got up and down from a bunker on the par-5 third hole to save par.
Defending champions Rhonda Switzer-Nadasdi and Karen Williams opened with a 74.
Also shooting 74 were Maggie Scott of Charleston, and her partner Debbie Durham. Scott has fond memories of Johnson City Country Club, where she won the Tennessee Women’s State Amateur in 1994.
The entire field will begin today’s final round with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.