published Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Signal Mountain teams sweep in golf: Chattanooga Christian's Stevens wins the boys' 4-A/AA individual title

Signal Mountain's Haley Davidson hits her tee shot at the par-4 15th in the Region 4 golf championship Wednesday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
Signal Mountain's Haley Davidson hits her tee shot at the par-4 15th in the Region 4 golf championship Wednesday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
Photo by Tim Barber.
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    Chattanooga Christian's Scott Stevens hits his approach shot at no. 15 on his way to winning local honors in the Region 4 golf championship Wednesday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

Senior Haley Davidson led the continuation of a Signal Mountain streak.

Sullivan Baker and Jimmy Billings helped Davidson's counterparts end a Notre Dame streak and potentially start a trend of their own.

With Davidson earning medalist honors, the Lady Eagles captured their fourth straight Region 4-A/AA championship on Wednesday at Bear Trace Harrison Bay. Baker and Billings led the boys' team which earned its first invitation to the state championship.

Signal Mountain coach Rodney Mitchell accepted the boys' trophy and walked off the back step of the clubhouse: "I've held one of these before," he said, "but it's never said 'BOYS.'"

By the time all scores were counted and the sun sank behind Signal Mountain in the distance and Chickamauga Lake about 200 yards away from the clubhouse, Mitchell walked away from Bear Trace with two trophies.

"It's unbelievable to go to state four times in a row," Davidson said. "It's a dream that I've always had that came true."

Davidson shot a 9-over-par 81 to earn medalist honors by one stroke over Mallory Sullivan of DeKalb County. Sullivan owned a three-shot lead over Davidson heading to the 15th teeing ground. Sullivan bogeyed each of the last four holes.

Davidson parred each of those four and waited for tournament officials to ink their scores on the scoreboard before leaving the back patio. She wanted to be sure that she won.

"I had a streak of pars that helped a lot" Davidson said. "I tried to stick with my shot and concentrate extra hard. It paid off."

The Lady Eagles couldn't have advanced without freshman Bethany Burns adding an 83 for a team total of 164. Chattanooga Christian, led by an 84 from Anna Pope who advanced to state as an individual, finished second at 183.

"Haley has been a really strong leader this year," said Mitchell, who coached Signal Mountain to its third straight state title after former coach Wes Moore guided them to two in the school's first two years. "Bethany has done all that we could ask of anyone coming into high school golf."

Baker is in his second year and Billings is in his third year at Signal Mountain. They both shot 1-over 73 and led the Eagles to a 302 total which topped Notre Dame by 14 strokes.

The Eagles ended a six-year streak of the Irish heading to the Class A/AA state championship which begins Tuesday at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester, Tenn.

"We practiced under pressure all year, and they played pretty relaxed today," Mitchell said. "I was pleased that we had three guys shoot low at the same time, because they've all shot low at different times. We needed to have three at the same time."

Speaking of low, Chattanooga Christian sophomore Scott Stevens and Friendship Christian's Robert Gwynne were the only players to break par on Wednesday in the tournament that was postponed from Monday due to rainy conditions.

They each shot 1-under 71 and will advance as individuals. Stevens earned the shiniest medal by brushing in a six-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. He'll be joined by teammate Lake Johnson and Notre Dame's Alexander Riddle who both shot 72. Riddle won their casual playoff with nothing on the line more than a medal that says 3rd or 4th.

"I felt like I was ready today," said Stevens, who shot an uncharacteristic 80 in the district tournament. "It feels good to win because all you're trying to do is advance to the next stage."

He's done that before. So have the Lady Eagles. Now Signal Mountain's boys' team knows the feeling of advancing.

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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