TAZEWELL -- Happy Valley’s Cameron Dugger grinded out a pair of tough wins at Monday’s Region 1-A/AA golf championship at Woodlake Golf Club.
His round of 70 in windy and rainy conditions led the Warriors to a 316-322 victory over Grainger for the team title, and then he won on the third playoff hole against the Grizzlies’ Daniel Moore for the individual medalist.
“The whole day, I got to 2-under and then he got to 2-under,” Dugger explained. “I went to 3-under and then I made a mistake and he made a clutch, 15-foot putt on 18. That put us in the playoff and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m not going to be able to beat this kid, he’s on fire today.’
“He didn’t make a bogey all day, but fortunately I grinded out the playoff. I almost lost the second playoff hole, but I made it to the third one and birdied it. It feels good as I’ve never come close to winning region before.”
He was even happier to share in the moment with his team, which successfully defended their 2011 title.
“I really didn’t want to go to state by myself,” Dugger said. “I wanted to be there with my friends. We will probably all go off to college and go our seperate ways and it might be the last time we get to go off together. It feels really good to pull off the repeat and go back to state.”
It was an odd day overall for the Warriors as District 1-A/AA individual champion Colton Oakes struggled with an 88, which included a 48 on the back nine.
However, Joseph Matherly, playing at No. 3, came through with a 78 while Jordan Persinger at No. 4 posted an 82 and Drew Burker at No. 5 scored an 86 to give the Warriors the victory.
It meant Oakes’ score didn’t count among the team total.
“That’s golf. You can go out have a great round and then struggle the next time,” Happy Valley head coach Tucker Carter said. “But we had the four and five guys pick us up today, and the No. 3 guy played good. It’s pretty awesome, but it was a stressful, stressful last hour and a half waiting for everyone to get back in and look at the totals.”
Chuckey-Doak finished third in the team competition with a 327, while University High’s Conner Bartow shot a 75 to qualify for next week’s state tournament in Manchester as an individual.
He bogeyed the first two holes, but played 1-over for the next 16 holes. Surprisingly, it came without the use of the biggest club in his bag.
“I played without a driver today,” Bartow explained. “I didn’t have a driver all day because I didn’t feel comfortable with it. I hit a 3-wood off the tee and I felt comfortable with that. But making state, it really, really feels good.”
Grainger rolled to an easy win in the girls’ competition behind 1-2 individual finishes by sisters Kasey and Kristen Ankrom, who tied with an 81 for the low score. Like Dugger, it took Kasey Ankrom three playoff holes to beat her younger sister for individual medalist.
Hampton finished second overall in the team standings at 186 and Claiborne at 190 finished third. Sullivan East’s Holly Hamliton with an 89 and Hampton’s Michaela Matheson with a 92 were among those who qualified for the state as individuals.
“I was holding my breath when they were posting the final scores,” Matheson said. “I played really bad, so I’m happy to make it to state with a 92. Coming off the last hole, I didn’t expect that. I’m happy to go and I am ready to go to the state and play how I know I’m capable of playing.”