UNICOI — With an expected result from a senior and a surprise performance from a freshman, the Science Hill girls rolled to a 16-stroke victory Monday in the Big Seven Conference championship at Buffalo Valley Golf Course.
Senior Allison Woodward played in the lead group and finished fourth among individuals with a 74. Freshman Addie Baggarly tied for second with an even-par 72. Combined, their efforts gave the Lady ’Toppers a 146-162 victory over runner-up Dobyns-Bennett.
“Allison is our staple and we know what we’re going to get from her,” Science Hill coach Kevin Vannoy said. “That’s really not too much of a surprise with Addie. She has that capability. There has been times when she’s been on the verge. She just put it all together today.”
Erica Qin added an 87 that didn’t count among the team total.
Even with a 73 by medalist Peter Chang, Science Hill came up three strokes short (313-316) to Dobyns-Bennett on the boys side. Still, the result was closer than previous meetings with the Indians.
“It’s always a disappointment when you lose, but we’re closing the gap at tournament time,” Vannoy said. “But credit D-B. Their first three are phenomenal, and today their last guys came through. They have a great team so we have our work cut out for us.”
Jack Rhea and Jake Aaroen each finished with 80 for Science Hill, while Drew Poland posted an 83. Also, Chris Deal carded an 84 and Garrett Whitfield had an 87 that did not count with only the top four scores recorded.
D-B countered with a 76 by William Nottingham, and scores of 78, 77 and 82 from its No. 4 through No. 6 players — Drew Doran, Andrew Norttingham and Tanner Holt. Their efforts added to what has already been a memorable season for the Indians.
“They hung in there and we had a couple of younger kids play real well today,” D-B coach T.J. Ross said. “I believe we have one of the better teams to ever play at Dobyns-Bennett. We have six guys that are averaging under 40 (for nine holes) and two are averaging under par. I’ve got a couple of seniors — Drew Doran and Andrew Nottingham — and any time you have seniors you want them to go out with a bang. This was a great win for them today.”
Chang took the individual crown by three strokes over Grayson Clark of Daniel Boone and Nottingham. It was an eventful round that included three birdies and an eagle, but also two double bogeys.
He said the key was not letting the double bogeys ruin his round.
“It’s inevitable,” Chang said. “I think everybody who played today had at least one double. It’s going to happen, and you just have to play through it.
“It helped me that I started on the front side and was 3-under at the turn. I knew if I had one or two doubles on the back, I would make it out just over par. I figured that would win on this course.”
His calcuations were correct as were those of Dobyns-Bennett sophomore Haverly Harrold, who won the girls title at 2-under-par. Her round of 70 was highlighted by an eagle on hole No. 5.
“It was a little unexpected,” she said. “I hit a 4-hybrid off the tee and laid up short of the water. I hit a 9-iron to go over and it left me with about a 15-foot putt. I hit it the perfect speed and it went in.”
She felt Buffalo Valley’s challenging layout with trees lining each side of some holes played into her strategy of being aggressive at times, and laying back at other moments.
“It’s a really tough course,” she said. “You’ve got to hit it where you want to hit it. You’ve got to keep it out of trouble, and most of the time par is not bad at all. To go under on a course like this one was awesome.”
Daniel Boone senior Haley Wagner was 2-under on the front nine, and 2-over on the back. She finished even-par, two strokes behind Haverly and tied with Baggarly for the runner-up spot. She had four birdies on the day, but felt there were other missed opportunities on the green.
“I hit some really good putts but they just didn’t fall,” Wagner said. “It wasn’t a great putting day. But I scrapped around, shaped some shots around the trees and came out even.”
The teams move on to district play Sept. 23 at the Country Club of Bristol.