ELIZABETHTON — Sullivan South scored a clean sweep at the Region 1-A/AA golf championships on Monday at Elizabethton Golf Course.
Cayman Ratliff scored his second straight region title in the boys competition, leading the Rebels to a 290-320 team win over runner-up Cumberland Gap.
Taylor White of South won the girls’ individual title, winning a three-way playoff over teammate Allyson Dunn and Kristen Ankrom of Grainger. As a team, the Lady Rebels won 144-154 over Ankrom’s Lady Grizzlies.
Both South teams are now headed for next week’s state tournament in Manchester.
“I’m real pleased we found a way to get down there,” South head coach Anthony Richardson said. “Cayman didn’t play very well today, but two-under is pretty good if you’re not playing well. We’ve had other guys beside Cayman be our low guy throughout the year, so I’m real pleased with them. We’ve got to go (to state) the last couple of years with the girls, and it’s always more fun going with a team than as individuals. I think we have a chance to win this thing.”
South’s Tanner Hall was runner-up to Ratliff, just a stroke behind at 71. The Rebels had solid play throughout the lineup with a 73 from Seth Crawford, and 76 each from Ross Miller and Drake Crawford.
Ratliff, the 2013 TGA state junior champion who is verbally committed to ETSU, shot a 64 on the same course the week before to win his third straight district title. He found the greens tougher on Monday, although his efforts yielded another championship.
“I had a lot of putts lip out today,” Ratliff said. “I hit a lot of good putts and I missed quite a few of them. On the front, I had eight pars and a bogey. On the back I hit it about the same, except I made a few putts.”
With a 37, Ratliff was trailing by three strokes after nine holes. He didn’t panic, going 3-under on the back nine.
“I just focused on the shot I was trying to hit at that time,” he said. “I knew the guys weren’t playing great and I just tried to make a run on the back and come back with a decent score.”
Nick Sewell of University High was among four individuals who qualified for the state tournament. He finished with a 37 on the front nine and a 36 on the back nine, although late struggles on the green threatened to blow up his round.
“I scared myself a little bit,” he said. “I missed three four-footers on seven, eight and nine to finish. The course seemed to be set up a little tougher than last week and fewer putts were falling. Still, I’m pretty excited that I made it. ”
White won on the second playoff hole against Dunn. She hit an approach shot about one foot from the hole, leading to an easy putt for the victory.
“Under that kind of pressure, that was definitely the biggest shot of my life,” she said. “Getting it around a foot from the hole, that makes it a little easier.”
As a team, White, Dunn and Kaitlyn Grills led the Lady Rebels to a third straight state berth.
Hampton senior Michaela Matheson completed the District 1 qualifiers, making the state as an individual for the third straight year. She finished one stroke behind the lead trio in regulation. Unlike the previous Monday when Matheson was trying to match Dunn shot for shot, she made a concerted effort not to pay attention to other scores this time around.
“My main goal was to get through today and get to the state tournament,” Matheson said. “I missed a couple of putts, but I’ll take a 73. When I made the turn, I made it a point to not look at what everybody else was doing. I just concentrated on lowering my own score.”