Walker Valley junior Katie Bishop will be heading to the Class AAA state golf tournament.
Her teammates will not be going.
Cookeville topped the Lady Mustangs in a sudden-death playoff in the Region 3-AAA tournament Thursday at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
"It's an absolute heartbreaker," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "I hate to see anybody lose like that."
After the teams tied at 161, Cookeville scored two pars while the Lady Mustangs had one from Bishop and a bogey from Brittani Pederson, who nearly won the match in regulation.
Pederson entered the 18th hole at 17 over. If she parred the final hole, Walker Valley would have won. She missed an eight-foot putt, sending it to a playoff and forcing Bishop to play at Willowbrook as an individual.
"You don't have the moral support of everybody else," Bishop said. "I'll be the only one on the team going. All by myself."
She will see some familiar faces. Ooltewah junior Samantha Griffith earned medalist honors with a 5-over 77 and will return to the state tournament.
"I'm pretty excited because state is fun and it's a great experience," said Griffith, who had double-bogeys bookend her winning round.
The Walker Valley boys' team also finished runner-up to Cookeville. But there had no need for a playoff. Cookeville shot a 10-over 298 to beat the Mustangs by seven shots.
McMinn County finished in third place at 306 and was topped by Walker Valley for the first time in five head-to-head affairs.
"We figured that McMinn and Cookeville were the teams to beat," Williams said. "We beat one but not the other. Cookeville had a really good day and they deserve to go.
"Our guys had a good year."
The season will continue for White County senior A.J. Wilkerson, who will play college golf at Tennessee Tech. He earned medalist honors with an even-par 72. His round included six birdies, six pars and six bogeys.
"It was an up and down day," Wilkerson said. "I'm glad I can get in this last state tournament and make it count."
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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