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BHS golf girls hope to build on dramatic region win

Bearden’s girls high school golf team got a super 18 hole performance from its 2002 state individual runner-up, and a clutch 10-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to nip Farragut and head to the state tourney.

Junior Mallory Bishop, the Class AAA state runner-up last season, shot a sizzling 2-under-par 71 at Willow Creek Golf Club Sept. 23 to lead Bearden to the Region 2-AAA title and the Class AAA state tournament in Crossville Tuesday and Wednesday (after press time).

“I think Bearden’s got a real chance to win it,” FHS head coach Mike Driver said. “Based on what I’ve seen this year, us and Bearden and the Rossview team (from Clarksville) are the three best teams I’ve seen. I think it depends on how Jesse Maier plays for them, and how Mallory does overall. (Bear Trace) is really a hilly course. If they get tired on those last nine holes on Wednesday, you can really lose some shots real fast.”

Bearden and Farragut were tied after 18 holes at 2-over-par, described by Driver as a “very low” score.

Then it was Maier’s turn to put the icing on the cake.

In the one-hole playoff, “we made two pars, and they made a par and then Jesse Maier, their number two player, made a birdie putt,” Driver said. “She made about a 10-footer.”

Farragut’s threesome of Carolyn Levy (76), Erica Thornton (78) and Megan Cox (81) finished second, third, and fourth respectively, but it was Bishop’s day to shine.

“Mallory played great, she started off great,” Driver said. “She birdied four of the first six holes, and ended up with a 2-under-par 71, and that’s what really won it for them.”

Lynn Hill, BHS athletic director who has lead the team into competition since golf coach Scott McMurray was killed in a traffic accident Sept. 13, praised Bishop, Maier and their Bearden teammate, Emily Sills.

“The entire team did an excellent job,” Hill said. “It was just amazing to me how both teams could just step up there and smack the ball. All six people. It came right down to making a birdie putt for Jessie, and she just stood up there and knocked it in. It was both exciting and sad.

“One of the first things that was mentioned was Scott McMurray,” Hill added. “You tried to be happy knowing that he would be proud of the girls for the way they had finished the region tournament and making their way to state.”


As for Levy and Cox’s chances at state, “Megan tied for 10th last year, but she’s been struggling a little bit with her swing,” Driver said. “But I think Carolyn and Megan both have a chance to finish in the top 15. And I think Erica would too, but I don’t know if her back is going to hold up or not.”

Thornton finished third in region despite playing with a bad back. “She was lucky to make it through 18 holes,” Driver said. “She was give out by the end.”

As for Thorton’s chances at state, “if she was healthy, I think she’d have a real chance of finishing in the top-15,” Driver said. “But that course is really hilly, we’re going to try and get a cart for her.”

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