published Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Lady Eagles champs again: Signal Mounain girls rally in the final round to win state title

Signal Mountain freshman golfer Bethany Burns, right, hugs senior Haley Davidson. The Lady Eagles won their fourth straight state championship.
Signal Mountain freshman golfer Bethany Burns, right, hugs senior Haley Davidson. The Lady Eagles won their fourth straight state championship.
Photo by David Uchiyama.

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — The Signal Mountain public works department may have a small new project.

It needs to update signs reminding motorists that the Signal Mountain High girls golf team were Class A/AA state champions in 2009.

The Lady Eagles won again Wednesday.

Senior Haley Davidson propelled Signal Mountain to a fourth straight title — one for every year of the team's existence — by shooting a 17-over 161 over two days at Willowbrook Golf Club. Freshman Bethany Burns added a 168 for a team total of 329 which topped Macon County by six strokes.

"I'm not going to tell the city what to do," coach Rodney Mitchell said, "but I would greatly appreciate a new sign."

The Lady Eagles were five strokes behind Macon County entering the final round which added to the drama of their most surprising championship.

The team consisted of Davidson and Burns who struggled to break 80 each round plus senior Marli Patten and reserve Haley Buttram. Former Lady Eagles have moved on to college scholarships including University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Jordan Britt.

"I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, past and present coach [Wes] Moore, coach Mitchell," said Davidson, who tied for runner-up 15 shots behind medalist Sophia Schubert of CAK. "This is definitely the most surprising.

"It's been a great ride."

Chattanooga Christian junior Anna Pope tied for sixth at 167. Burns and Polk County senior Lydia Triplett tied for 10th at 168, and the Boyd-Buchanan girls were sixth in the team competition at 362.

Chattanooga area boys also dotted the top of their leaderboard on Wednesday. Notre Dame junior Alexander Riddle shot a 3-over 147 and finished runner-up by one shot to Sydney Chung of Madison. Riddle had a chance of getting into a playoff or winning before he pulled his tee shot left resulting in a bogey on his final hole.

"It was obviously different this year because I didn't have a team to worry about, so I could fire at everything instead of playing it safe," said Riddle, who shot a 1-under 71 on Wednesday. "After the first round, I didn't think I'd be close to the top."

But teammates and family checking smart-phones informed him where he stood on the leaderboard late in his round.

"I knew I was in contention when I was on No. 3 tee (after playing the back nine first), and I got nervous and hit a bad tee shot," Riddle said. "Then I calmed down and knew 1 or 2 under would be close."

CCS sophomore Scott Stevens also came close. He entered the final round tied for the lead after shooting even. He fired a 4-over 76 and tied for third, two shots behind Chung.

"It would have been better coming from back to place third," Stevens said. "I had three three-putts and that never helps. I didn't make a birdie either, so I couldn't get any momentum."

The Signal Mountain boys team placed fourth at 665 and 46 shots behind champion Macon County. East Hamilton placed fifth at 670.

The city still has no need to add the boys to city signs — just update them with another girls championship.

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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