Tigers win first leg of Wells Cup

Friday, August 21, 2015
Photos by Anthony S. Puca Marshall County's Zach Smith shot 1-under-par 35 to lead the Tigers to a first-round win in the Gary Wells Cup matches at the Ewell Butler Golf Course in Lewisburg.

Marshall County has its hands firmly around the Gary Wells Cup for the fourth straight season, winning the first leg of the 2015 event by a 35-stroke margin over Forrest and Cornersville on Tuesday at the Ewell Butler Golf Course in Lewisburg.

"We're not giving the Cup up. It's named after our great coach here at Marshall County, so we want to keep it here as long as we can," MCHS coach Alex Phelps said. "We enjoy this tournament every year. We like to play with our neighboring schools. It's always fun."

Legendary coach

Wilson Limbaugh, who nearly drained this long birdie putt on the second hole, shot 38 for the Tigers.

The three county schools vie for The Cup in honor of Wells, who coached Marshall County High School golf for 30 years. Wells guided the Tigers to 19 district titles -- 16 straight -- back-to-back TSSAA state championships in 1997 and '98 and a runner-up finish in '99.

Usually a three-round event, this year's tournament is just two due to the work being done at the course at Henry Horton State Park. The first leg Monday at Saddle Creek was rained out, but won't be made up on until Sept. 15.

"We like to play all three courses for sure," Phelps said. "We're sad we don't get to play Horton all year because we like it, but maybe we'll get to play it one time this year."

Colby Downs led the Bulldogs with 45 even though he struggled at times because of recent leg surgery.


On Tuesday, MCHS tore up the 2,846-yard, nine-hole, Ewell Butler Course as three Tigers golfers shot in the 30s. Zach Smith led the way with a 1-under-par 35 capped by birdies on Nos. 8-9.

"Anytime you have your No. 1 guy shoot under par, it's a good day," said Phelps, whose team finished with a four-player total of 155. "It was a little sloppy out here and real wet today, so when you see him getting low in these conditions, it makes you excited about our next match."

Forrest's Hawken King executes a perfect chip on the second hole, landing the ball to within inches of the cup to save a par.

Wilson Limbaugh followed with 38 and Tyler Wunderlin 39. Kasey Beard and Davis George each had 43 while Hunter Bradford had 45.

"We have a good squad this year, so if you catch us on a good day, we can make a splash this year," Phelps said. "One fifty five is a good score and it's the low score since I've been coaching. We're excited because we've been going lower every match we have had."


Kyleah Hengesbach hits a shot up to the ninth green as teammate Katie Harmon looks on.

Cornersville's Colby Downs, recovering from off-season surgery, gutted out a sore leg to lead the Bulldogs' 190 total with a 45.

Raymond Cooksey provided the Bulldogs with a big lift, shooting a 46, while JD Crabtree had 47, Matthew Karban 52, Hunt Jackson 56 and Colton McVey 58.

"I thought we did fine today, it's about what we've been doing," Cornersville coach Joy McMasters said. "Our top golfers can certainly do better and improve. Our young golfers like Raymond Cooksey are doing well and we've cut our scores each week, so we are excited about that."

Cornersville's Emma Reese chips up to the ninth green during Tuesday's Gary Wells Cup match.


Forrest finished with 197 as Lucas Welch shot 45, Jarvis Lyttle 49, Hawken King 50, Tim Elliot 54 and JT Ferguson 61.

"We didn't play very well," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. "Looking at these scores, we have to have our No. 1 and No. 2 players shoot six or seven shots better. If you're not a birdie golfer, you need to be playing for pars and if you're not a par golfer, you need to try to be doing the best you can do."

On the girls' side, only two scores are used and Forrest won 105-112 over Cornersville. Dani Hoeft shot 51, Kyleah Hengesbach 54, Micah Toombs 59 and Katie Harmon and Emily Yost 62 each.

Carly Salsman led the Lady Dawgs with a 54, Taylor Ingram had 58, Emma Reese 59 and Madison Spivey 71.