By JESSE SMITHEY
Area golf teams and some individual players have some work to do Friday on the grounds at Sevierville Golf Club if they are to bring home a TSSAA State Championship.
Here are the happenings from Thursday’s first round of play in Division II-AA (large private schools) and Class AA (large public schools).
Coverage provided FREE TO READ by BRAD ROSE GOLF INSTRUCTION.
CLASS AA GIRLS
The Halls girls golf program made its state-tournament debut Monday. And while the Lady Red Devils didn’t play their best, they’re still very much a contender for the state title.
Halls sophomore Lauren Davis darted to a 3-under start in her first four holes, thanks to an eagle at the par-5 third on Sevierville Golf Club’s Highlands Course. But she wound up signing for a 3-over 73, which was good enough for a tie for sixth place.
Houston’s Sophie Christopher led the Class AA field Monday with a 2-under 68.
Madison Miller’s 84 got paired with Davis’ score to give Halls its team mark of 17-over 157.
The Lady Red Devils are tied for fourth heading into Friday’s final round but are just 14 shots back of leader Cookeville (3-over 143).
Maryville senior Parker Miller, who won the 2022 5Star Preps Masters, shot 78 and was tied for 13th after Day One. West sophomore Calley Holbert shot the same score as Miller thanks to a birdie on the final hole.
Sevier County senior Joslin Nave was solo 17th after a 79.
Bearden junior Tessa Larmee carded an 84 in her first state-tournament round ever and was tied for 27th.
CLASS AA BOYS
The Halls boys won state titles recently in 2016 and 2017, but the Red Devils will need a comeback for the ages Friday to add another championship to the fourth they’ve won all-time.
The Red Devils are tied for sixth heading into the final round at 30-over 318.
Page was the lone boys program in Class AA to shoot under par Monday on Sevierville Golf Club’s River Course, firing a team mark of 1-under 287 to lead Collierville by eight shots.
Halls junior Ethan Whitaker, a Chattanooga commitment, fought through some bogey woes and birdied his last hole to card a 3-over 75 (17th place). Bowen Brantley (78), Nathan Jeansonne (80) and Weston Wright (85) rounded out Halls’ team total.
Greeneville senior Alex Broyles was set to be the 5Star Preps area’s lowest finisher Monday but a quad on his 17th hole relegated him to a 76 and a tie for 19th.
Maryville senior Nick Talley and Oak Ridge sophomore Jack Bentz fired opening rounds of 76 and 78, respectively.
DIVISION II-AA BOYS
No area teams qualified for the Division II-AA team state tournament field, but a few area players are in the mix.
Webb School of Knoxville junior Tate Woodruff raced to a 2-under start through 17 holes after 14 opening pars and consecutive birdies at 15 and 16. But a triple-bogey at the par-5 finishing hole dropped Woodruff to a 1-over 73 on the Sevierville Golf Club’s River Course.
That placed him in a tie for eighth and six shots off the pace of leader Tommy Frist of Ensworth. Frist bogeyed his first hole Thursday (the 11th hole) but then birdied Nos. 14-16 and 18 to jump start his round. His eagle on the par-5 10th — his final hole — helped Frist card a first-round 67.
Catholic senior Harrison Thompson, a West Virginia commitment, birdied his final hole Thursday to open in 74 and in a tie for 10th. Thompson tied for sixth at state last season at 4-under 140.
Brentwood Academy freshman Blades Brown, who won the high school state championship last season as an eighth-grader by six shots, opened with a 69.
McCallie leads the Division II-AA Boys competition after Round One at 4-over 292. Ensworth is one shot back. Baylor is just three back.
DIVISION II-AA GIRLS
The Catholic girls team qualified for state but occupied the sixth slot after the first round at 40-over 180.
Ensworth leads at 7-over 140 on the Sevierville Golf Club’s Highlands Course. Baylor is close behind, just two strokes back. Lipscomb is third at 154.
Webb School junior Palmer Sykes got off to a hot start (2 under through six) and held on for a 75 to land in a tie for fifth on the individual leaderboard. She is four shots behind leader Anna Heck of St. Agnes.
Tori Tampas of Catholic is in 18th place after signing for an 86.