published Friday, September 20th, 2013

Venable, Griffith, Walker Valley teams win in 5-AAA golf

Tucker Venable called a penalty on himself when his ball rolled about a centimeter after he addressed it on the fifth hole of the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay golf course Thursday in the District 5-AAA high school tournament.

The East Hamilton golfer still won -- a few hours later -- with a little more drama. But one added penalty shot forced a playoff for boys' medalist after he shot a 2-under-par 70 to tie Ooltewah senior Danny Gleeson.

"I've been trying to play good and get my name out there," Venable said. "It feels good to finally win."

Gleeson dropped his approach on the playoff hole in a left bunker with the pin on the right. Venable took aim and launched a shot off his wedge from 130 yards to about six feet from the hole. Gleeson tried to hole out his bunker shot, and almost did, leaving him two feet to save par. But Venable brushed in his birdie putt to win.

"Losing to a birdie isn't bad," said Gleeson, who bogeyed his 18th hole in regulation. "And you can't be too mad about a 70."

The Walker Valley boys' team had four scores in the 70s, led by an even-par 72 from sophomore Dylan Lillard, and the Mustangs earned the team title with a 304 total.

"Dylan has been steady all year, and the other guys have stepped up," Mustangs coach Bob Williams said. "I think there's a little room for improvement. But four scores in the 70s, I'd have taken that at the beginning of the day."

East Hamilton finished runner-up at 306 and Ooltewah placed third with a 318, which sends all three teams to the Region 3 tournament next Thursday at RiverWatch Golf Club in Sparta.

Walker Valley also won the girls' championship with a 167, followed by McMinn County with a 178 and Soddy-Daisy at 181. Ooltewah senior Samantha Griffith was the medalist with an even-par 72 round that included three birdies and three bogeys.

"I don't know how I got away with a 72, but that's OK because I'll take it," Griffith said. "I hit some really bad shots and some really good shots. I almost chipped in for eagle on 17, but on No. 6 I had about 60 yards and chunked it."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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