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BHS golfer Woods chooses Milligan

If only for a moment, Bearden High School’s Michael Woods emulated his golfing legend namesake, Tiger Woods. Michael converted a difficult shot in a critical moment for a huge payoff.

His 30-foot birdie putt on a sudden-death playoff hole during last fall’s Region 2-AAA golf tourney earned Woods a state tournament berth, where he finished sixth.

Starting this fall, Woods will try and create more Tiger-like magic at Milligan College.

The 17-year-old Bulldog senior signed National Letter of Intent papers with the NAIA college, located in Johnson City, during a signing ceremony in the BHS east mall Thursday, Jan. 13.

“It was mainly the visit, because I was interested, really, (from) the start to go there,” Woods said about Milligan and its campus. “I loved it, it’s in a good area ... It worked out. ... I wanted to stay close to home, that was really what kind of helped me make the decision to go to Milligan.”

A school of about 1,000 students, Milligan is the defending Appalachian Athletic Conference golf champion.

BHS head coach John Heins praised Woods during the 10-minute ceremony as dozens of students joined teachers and administrators in attendance. “Michael Woods is the only four-year letterman on the Bearden High School golf team. Michael had a great year, he finished sixth in the state ... a fantastic player.”

Heins then turned to Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford and said, “coach, you’re going to get a great player, a great student (3.70 grade point average, Heins said).”

Wallingford said he and his assistants “follow a lot of the scores of the junior players in this area, and Michael was very consistent. He’s a outstanding student, he comes very highly recommended as a person, and that makes a great fit for Milligan College.”

Though Woods said his strength is iron play, his putter clinched the state tournament berth.

Because his nearest state qualifying competitor had a 15-foot putt for par on the sudden-death hole, “I was really just trying to lag that putt, but it went in,” Woods said. “When I made that putt I knew I was in.

“I worked really hard four years to get to the state, and just to make that putt and know I was going, it was pretty awesome.”

Away from BHS, Woods said his career highlight came last summer at Willow Creek Golf Club during the annual Tennessee State Junior Amateur, where he finished tied for 19th. Woods’ first round scored of 69 left him tied for second-place.


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