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Fighting Irish Golf
Tucker vying for No.1

In his first two years as a Knoxville Catholic High School golfer, Preston Tucker was only two shots away from entering a playoff in the Region 2-AAA Tournament to determine a state berth.

Yet, “I was pretty happy with the way I played,” said Tucker, Irish rising junior and likely No. 1 KCHS player this season, about his 2010 region performance. “My ability as a player has gotten a lot better. I’m becoming a much better ball striker. I’m more on plane.

“I’ve been working with Eric Redman a lot,” he added. “I’m hitting a lot more greens, getting a lot more birdie opportunities.

“I’m feeling pretty confident about this year.”

Tucker said he needs to work on “driving distance, maybe get a little stronger, get a little more club head speed. And I’d say putting can always improve for everybody.”

He’s adapted to not being long off the tee by keeping it in the fairway and “working on my long irons more.”

Those irons are Nike Victory Red model. “I kinda like the blades, that feel,” Tucker said.

Tucker’s driver of choice is Ping I-15, “it’s a real low-spin head, it’s got a low-spin shaft. It gets me a little more distance off the tee than what I’ve been using in the past.”

Tucker said his putter is an Odyssey No. 7 with a “mallet-looking head. It’s getting me around the greens pretty well.”

His wedges are TaylorMade TP, which are “working for me great.”

Tucker’s ball of choice had been Titleist, “But we’ve been playing with Bridgestone the last year. I’m playing the B-330s. I like those, they spin a lot more than you think they would.”

About goals for the season, Tucker said, “I just want to be a good leader for my team. I would like to see our entire team make it to state, that would be the main goal.”

Tucker said his performance in Willow Creek Invitational in June (76-75–151) “gave me a lot of confidence. I was in the same flight as some of the Memphis players and UT players. It was great competition and a great learning experience.”

Tucker, 16, said about tight situations, “If you don’t feel pressure, I think there’s something wrong. You really should, because when you have pressure it shows you care.

“I feel pressure, so I just tell myself that I care and that I want it really bad.”

As for the Irish team, sophomore Joe Willenborg “was a great freshman last year,” KCHS head coach Adam Walker said.

Senior Travis Rodgers and sophomore Mack Padgett also look to play high in Catholic’s rotation.

As for Tucker’s favorite courses, “I’m a member out at Holston [Hills] so I love it,” he said. “It’s long enough to where you can hit long irons in. It’s a little wide at Holston, but you can still get some trouble, so it kinda focuses your whole game.

“I play Three Ridges a lot, I like that; you’ve got to be a real good, precise iron player. If you miss some greens it’s hard to get up and down,” Tucker added.

“And we play Tennessee National every year at the beginning of the year, and that’s just a great test and challenge,” he added.


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