published Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

No area teams in AAA golf state

The Tennessee Class AAA state championship is an individual invitational for Chattanooga-area schools.

Southeastern Tennessee will be represented Tuesday and Wednesday by four individuals and zero teams at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester.

Bradley Central junior Chase Montgomery will make his state championship debut, while McMinn County junior Cody Housley returns after playing with the Cherokees as a freshman. Walker Valley junior Katie Bishop played with the Lady Mustangs last year, and Ooltewah junior Samantha Griffith also returns after earning a spot last year.

"I've been doing this for seven years, and it's the first time we're taking just one girl," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "Katie is very deserving."

Bishop practiced for about 20 hours last week with a focus on chipping and putting. She has a goal of improving on her 11th-place tie last year.

"I practiced every day this week, even in the rain," Bishop said. "I feel good and confident. I know I'm prepared correctly, so I know I'm ready to go."

Griffith chose to play instead of practice. She has been participating in an All-American Junior Tour event this weekend at Brown Acres. She'll follow with a practice round Monday and then the two competition rounds for a total of five rounds in five days.

"That's a lot of golf, but she can handle it," Ooltewah coach Mike McCullough said. "Last year we were too serious in the practice round. It's tough for her to turn it off, even in a practice round.

"Expectations are high. She's going in thinking and wanting to win."

The two area boys have similar aspirations after they tied for second at the Region 3-AAA tournament by shooting 1-over 73s at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.

"I went through some swing changes my sophomore year, and it just wasn't good," Housley said. "It feels amazing to go back. It's a lot of fun going over there. It's like a professional tournament -- they have ropes."

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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