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FHS wins state golf title

Thank goodness for quick starts.

Farragut High School’s “Big Five” on the links completed their ultimate goal — in half the time — winning the Class AAA Boys State Golf championship in a rain-shortened 18-hole event at Old Fort Golf Club in Murfreesboro Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Led by junior Hayden Anderson’s 72 (35-37), finishing sixth, the Admirals (295) outdistanced runner-up Houston by four strokes (299).

Farragut junior Davis Bunn (33-40-73) tied for seventh, followed by senior Elliot Wickenden’s 74 (36-38) and Patrick Thomas’ 76 (38-38).

“We needed to use our depth to our advantage and we did,” FHS head coach Scott McKenzie said. “I told them what a great opportunity they had, and they realized it.”

Well aware of rainy predictions for Wednesday’s scheduled final 18 holes while on the course Tuesday, McKenzie conveyed a message while his team played the back nine.

“I told Patrick Thomas and the team, ‘Hey, we’ve got to finish strong,’” McKenzie said. “On the front nine we were exceptionally good, but [Houston] kinda caught up with us on 12, 13, 14.”

Farragut’s lead narrowed to one stroke down the stretch before earning the tiniest bit of breathing room.

Though FHS senior Brandon Rodgers was the high scorer Tuesday (38-40-78), “Brandon helped get us there,” McKenzie said of the Region 2-AAA champion. “Fortunately we had four other guys that made up the difference.”

Also a key backup behind the “Big Five” is Taylor Diegel.

As for possible detractors who may say Farragut’s championship is diluted because it was rain-shortened, McKenzie said, “Generally, you play an 18-hole match anyway” leading up to the state tourney. “All the teams knew the same situation. … It means the same.”

Explaining its ruling, TSSAA released a statement on its Web site Wednesday, Oct. 8: “Due to weather conditions and the fact that we have some fairways saturated, standing water on some greens, and that we would have to complete 18 holes of play with the field, today’s play has been cancelled. Under U-S-G-A rules of golf, the Division I Class AAA tournament will be an 18-hole tournament.”

The state title was Farragut’s 31st overall in TSSAA team sports history, sixth in golf and fourth in boys golf (also 1985, ’91, ’92).

McKenzie won his fourth state title as an FHS head coach (three boys track crowns from 1998-2000). It was his 11th as either a head coach or assistant.


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