published Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Signal Mountain girls, Notre Dame boys win state golf titles

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — It's the Chattanooga Championship.

The Notre Dame boys and Signal Mountain girls golf teams posed for pictures following the Class A/AA state golf championship at Willowbrook Golf Club.

Each of the players wore first-place medals and coaches held the heavy hardware -- wood championship trophies.

"They've been here for three straight years and they knew the scores they had to shoot to win it," Signal Mountain coach Rodney Mitchell said. "They knew what they had to do to win. And they did it."

Past experience in the state tournament helped both teams cope with the pressure and rise to victory. This is the third-straight title for Signal Mountain which shot a two-day total of 322, and beat Christian Academy of Knoxville by five shots. Boyd-Buchanan finished fifth.

The Irish have increased their position each of the past four years starting with a fourth-place finish in 2008. Notre Dame shot 607 and beat David Lipscomb by five shots. East Hamilton finished seventh.

So what's the difference between finishing second and winning?

"We get a ring," senior Kyle Holley said. "And we're a lot happier."

The Lady Eagles already have rings. Haley Davidson slipped on last year's red-and-black ring after her round. She shot 166. Andi Fisher had the drop score of 176 and Jenny Adkins was ready as an alternate.

Senior Sarah Dolmovich tied for third at 12-over-par 156 after entering the day tied for the lead. Marlee Ingham of Creek Wood earned medalist honors with a 3-over 147. Polk County junior Lydia Triplett finished in sixth play at 160.

"We just did a three-peat and that's pretty self-explanatory," said Dolmovich, whose team had a nine-shot lead after the first round. "I can't believe we won. Wait, I can. I'm glad it all came together like it should have."

Notre Dame's championship run came together on the final holes -- the front nine of Willowbrook. Coach Jeff Fisher had the Irish trailing by one shot -- including a 6-over 42 from senior Holley -- after his last player made the turn.

"I went from giant winged creatures in my stomach to a Cheshire cat," Fisher said. "The more red numbers I started to see, the better I felt."

Senior David Weeks shot 69 on Wednesday and finished in third place after shooting a 1-under 143. Holley rebounded with five birdies on the front and tied for ninth at 150.

Alexander Riddle shot 156, Will Armor shot 158, and Patrick Armor had the drop score. Dowling Armstrong of David Lipscomb shot 6-under 138 to win medalist.

"Playing in four straight of these helps you handle the pressure," Weeks said. "You know that you have two days to play and the first day you just stay in contention. Then you go after it."

The Irish waited a little longer than Fisher would have liked. But he drove out of Manchester with the first-place trophy instead of the runner-up plaque because of past experiences.

And Mitchell gathered with his team for dinner in the clubhouse with Signal Mountain's trophy having its own reserved table -- it's been there before.

"I didn't even really realize that this is the state championship until the last four holes," Davidson said. "It felt like another tournament."

And that's because it's another win.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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