Lady Rocket golfers going to region
Buford Ellington Golf Course, inside Henry Horton State Park, was the site of the District 9A-AA Tournament on
Tuesday as 75 golfers teed it up in hopes of earning a region berth and keeping their seasons alive, and after all the shots were fired and putts sunk, it was Cheatham County winning the boys' event and Whitehouse High School taking the girls' bracket.
"I would like to thank Neil Collins and the staff at Henry Horton for allowing us to host the district, they did a great job of getting the course ready and helping me in the process," said Forrest coach and tournament director Jeremy Jean. "And I don't want to leave out the scorers that helped, they gave up their day to come out and help us and I really appreciate them for doing it. We were able let all the coaches watch their kids play without having any responsibilities and that is why I love coaching here at Forrest, the support from people in the community for any sport is outstanding."
Cheatham County's Hunter Gibbs led the Cubs to victory and top medalist honors with a clean 2-over-par 74, including a scorching 1-under-par back nine score that featured four birdies.
The Cubs finished with a 336 team score, followed by White House-Heritage two shots back, and earning the final Region 10A-AA Tournament berth was Middle Tennessee Christian School with a 347.
The host Forrest Rockets failed to qualify, shooting a team score of 383, good enough for just sixth place.
"It was a really long day and I think that the tournament went really well," said Jean. "I would have liked for our boys to score a little better to have a chance to advance, but we did improve on last year's showing as a team."
Not best day
Forrest No. 1 Gary Lukonen struggled on his home tract, never getting his putter going as he came home with an 11-over-par 83.
"There were a lot of good scores spread out among four or five teams yesterday and that hurt Gary's chance of advancing," said Jean. "I think if you asked him, he would tell you that it wasn't his best day out there. He just has to use this as a learning experience for next year."
Hawken King shot a 92 to finish in the second spot for the Rockets, while Tim Elliot was third with a 103, Jarvis
Lyttle signed for 105 strokes, and Robert Garcia came to the clubhouse in 107 strokes.
Only the top three scores were used to determine the team total for the boys.
"All the boys are back for next year and I believe that if they continue to improve we will have a chance as a team," said Jean. "We improved on last year's outing by around 30 strokes and I hope that they learned that they have to get comfortable out there. When the pressure of advancing is on, they have to have be solid in their mental approach to each hole and have to learn to relax and play."
In the girls' portion of the tournament, White House's Kristen Miller and Tori Bradford combined for a 198 team score to earn the winner's plaque.
Miller's 94 also won the top medalist honors, just one stroke better than Sycamore's Ashley Craig, who came home just one shot back of Miller with a 95.
White House-Heritage (218) also took home second place for the girls and the Forrest Lady Rockets earned their way into Monday's event at Champions Run in Rockvale, shooting a 228 as Caitlyn Burt led Forrest with a 113, while Dani Hoeft shot 115, and Micah Toombs signed for a 137.
"The girls played the best they have played all year yesterday," said Jean. "It was a close call at getting in, but they did it."
Only the top two girls' scores were used for the final tabulation.
Burt's 113 score gave her a tie with Fayetteville's Caitlyn Plunkett for the fifth and final medalist spot, but the Forrest junior came through in the clutch, winning a playoff to have the honor of hanging the fifth place medal around her neck.
"I hope finishing fifth will be a confidence booster for her going into Monday's region, especially since she won the playoff to get that final individual spot," said Jean. Burt will be the first Lady Rocket to tee off in Rockvale on Monday, letting loose on the par-4 first hole at Champions Run at 12:52 p.m., followed by Hoeft at 1 p.m., and Toombs will begin her round 16 minutes after Hoeft.
"Going by scores from last year, the girls are going to have to play really well for us to have a chance to advance, but they are very capable of doing that," said Jean. "We just have to minimize the damage on some holes, don't turn a bogey into a triple. I think that hurt all of our golfers at the district. We have to learn from that and get ready for Monday for the girls, and next year for the boys."