BLOUNT COUNTY — Though having a boys team with no seniors, and a key senior girl who has only played golf three years, both Bearden golf teams were District 4-AA tournament champs Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Egwani Farms Golf Course.
For the boys in particular, who edged past Farragut by one stroke on the first playoff hole after tying at 302 following 18 holes, players stepped up who weren’t on the individual leaderboard through 18.
“I’d say it’s the best day we’ve had for our program in a long time, at least since I’ve been at the school, which has been about 14 years,” said Bearden coach Tyler Lane, in his fourth year as the program’s head coach.
Bearden boys clutch
Sophomore Jaden Morrell tied for second place with a 73 (3-over par). Freshman Bryce Harmon finished in sixth-place, yet just one shot behind Morrell at 74.
Sophomore Gray Loflin shot a 76, “which was a career best,” Lane said. “And he’s our No. 5 player.” Sophomore Ethan Gray fired a 79. Junior Adam Moss shot an 82.
“We just played it very solid, very smart and conservative,” he added, noting “everyone had at least one moment where they saved a hole with a big shot during the round.”
On the playoff hole, “We made four pars, and that was good enough,” he said.
Lady Bulldogs roll
Though medalist Sydney Branson, a senior, led the way in winning the girls district crown by firing an 81, Lane added the Eqwani course “is not the best fit for her because she hits it a long way, and it plays kind of short, so she couldn’t use the advantage of her length that well.
“But she’s just become a complete player. ... She was pretty consistent the whole day; she didn’t have a lot of big numbers,” he added. “... And she didn’t start playing until she was a freshman.
“She’s gone from shooting in the 120s until her sophomore year, when she got it down to around 100, and then last year started breaking 90. ... Now she’s usually in the mid-70s.”
Two sophomores were huge. Maya Hira finished tied for second with an 83. “She was just solid,” Lane said, adding Tessa Larmee, who finished with an 86, “actually was winning the tournament through nine holes. She played a great front nine.”