MANCHESTER, Tenn. — In a two-day golf tournament, the second had to be moving day, and it was for Walker Valley's girls Wednesday. They just didn't quite move enough.
The Lady Mustangs surpassed Sullivan South, which sat in second place after the first round in the Class AAA high school tournament at Willowbrook, but could only close the gap against first-day leader and eventual winner Clarksville (303). Walker Valley ended up the runner-up at 308 after trailing Clarksville by seven shots and Sullivan South (311) by three after the first day.
Hendersonville's 590 was 10 strokes better than second-place Brentwood High on the boys' side. Rossview's Tyler Guy was the boys' individual champion with a 6-under-par 138 and Lawrence County's Emily Williams was the girls' medalist with a 145.
Walker Valley senior Avery George backed her opening-round 76 with a 74 and ended up finishing fourth. Her 3-under 33 on the front Wednesday was the girls' low nine-hole score of the day and matched Beech's Abbie Gregory for low nine overall in the girls' tournament.
"I just went out and was not going to worry about making so many birdies and just play," George said. "On the back nine I went out of bounds about four holes into it and that just kind of got into my head. My putting was really good on the front nine."
George got support from sophomore Katie Bishop, who overcame a first-day 83 and came in tied for 11th. She started out Wednesday birdying the first and third holes.
"I hit everything well and made some putts," Bishop said. "I started out with a birdie. That shows you can actually play, and for me, anyway, gives me the focus and determination to play well."
Bishop's 75 is her lowest competitive 18-hole score to date.
"That was her lowest round, and to do it at the state tournament is great," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "Katie didn't make any mistakes, really. When she had a little trouble, she made bogey at worst. She stayed away from doubles.
"In order for us to finish where we did, Avery was going to have to do her thing, like she did, and Katie was going to have to have a great round, like she did."
The Lady Mustangs' runner-up trophy is the first for the school in golf.
"This was our first year in the state tournament and to come in second is really exciting," George said. "Hopefully they can continue on."
After shooting a first-round 70, Walker Valley senior Clark Melton was 1 over after three holes in his second round. He ended up with a 143 and in fifth place among the boys.
"I didn't hit the ball too solid. Then on the front side, which was my back side, I started to pick it up," said Melton, who gave credit to Williams and assistant coach Monty Frazier, along with his family, for guidance throughout his prep career. "I got it back to even, then I bogeyed the last hole."
Despite his team slipping from fourth after one day to sixth in the end, Melton wasn't disappointed.
"I'm just glad we were here," he said. "We were playing against teams with way more experience."
Melton's classmate Corey Evans shot two 74s and wound up tied for 16th. Soddy-Daisy senior Zach Hester totaled 150 and tied for 21st.
Among local girls, Soddy-Daisy senior Jessica Cathey (159) tied for 13th and Ooltewah sophomore Samantha Griffith (162) tied for 18th.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.