Tigers claim first Gary Wells Cup

Friday, September 21, 2012
MCHS senior Miller Sale holds the Gary Wells Cup as the former Marshall County head coach stands with all the participants after the conclusion of the event on Tuesday at Henry Horton State Park. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigers made sure the initial Gary Wells Cup would be in Lewisburg for at least one year as they ran away with title by having a big day on Tuesday at the Buford Ellington Golf Course inside Henry Horton State Park.

Wells said after the match, "I am real proud and it is a great honor to present the cup to my alma mater and the high school where I have been for so long. Nothing against the other schools of course, because this is a county thing and it is good competition for all three schools."

The three match totals ended with MCHS shooting a 495, Forrest was next with a 547 and Cornersville finished third at 632.

Forrest's Blake Tansil and Wilson Limbaugh showed great sportsmanship throughout the Cup matches and shakes hands after Tansil beat Limbaugh in a one-hole playoff for the Jeff Jones Medal.

The Tigers won by 17 strokes on Tuesday in the final leg, shooting a 167 cumulative score with Brooks Leftwich leading the way with a three-over par 39.

"The course had a lot of water on it from yesterday and they played the ball down like they always do," said Wells. "I am sure there were some places a little bit soggy, but they played well, they did really good."

Wilson Limbaugh was two strokes back of Leftwich with a 41, Austin Blade came home in 43 strokes and Miller Sale signed his scorecard for a 44.

Forrest head coach Kyle Stacey is all smiles after the match as he poses with the Jeff Jones Medal winner, Blake Tansil.

Sale, the lone senior on the Tiger squad said after the match, "It is a great honor to be awarded the cup by such a great coach. We all played pretty good, it was fun and it was hard to beat Tansil out with his group and Cornersville played well too."

In second place on the day was Forrest, led by Blake Tansil, who shot a 40, Austin Nichols needed 46 strokes, Gary Lukonen shot 48 and Hawken King rounded out the Rockets' tally sheet with a 50.

Cornersville shot 199 on Tuesday with Tate Lowery leading the Bulldogs with a 44, Jacob "Pops" Griffis carded a 47, and Matthew Karban and Colby Downs signed their cards with identical 54's.

Forrest's Austin Nichols drains a very tough downhill putt for a birdie on the par 3 eighth hole during the final leg of the Gary Wells Cup matches at the Buford Ellington Golf Course on Tuesday.

The battle for the Jeff Jones medal was much closer and came down to a playoff between Limbaugh and Tansil, who came home tied with 123 strokes after the three matches.

Tansil won the playoff with a par on the first hole.

"I am honored, I knew coming in that I had to shoot no lower higher than 40 to have a shot and it worked out for me," said Tansil. "I hate to see it go like that for Wilson, but he has three more years to get it done and I am proud of him."

Cornersville's Jacob "Pops" Griffis drills a 3-wood from next to a tree on the par 5 sixth hole at Henry Horton.

Leftwich ended up one shot out of the playoff with 124 over the three matches, Blade was next with a 126, Sale had 127, Lukonen wound up at 132 and Lowery accumulated 139 strokes.

All three squads will tee it up again on Monday at Henry Horton in the District 11A-AA Tournament, slated to begin at 8 a.m.

"Cascade is very, very good there is no question about that," said Wells. "I think they (MCHS) can give Cascade a run for their money, I think they have a good shot at it."

Cascade made their first state tournament appearance last season after winning both the district and region titles and Sale said about the difficult task ahead.

"I think we have a pretty good chance if we can get three good scores and a decent fourth score," said Sale. "If we do that, I think we can beat Cascade."