King College golf coach Brian Kamm may not be able to recruit the best players in the state to his NCAA Division II program, but he'd like to get the next best and build his team with players from the Volunteer State.
So his attendance at the Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship is mandatory.
Coaches from colleges on all levels across the state are showing up for the tournament that began Tuesday at Black Creek Club.
"I really want kids from this state," said Kamm, who was looking to meet with rising sophomores and juniors. "I've got only two athletic scholarships to spread around, so the HOPE scholarship is important. And with other academic scholarships, it's possible for a boy to have 75 percent of his tuition paid before I include athletic scholarship money."
Dowling Armstrong, a rising senior at David Lipscomb High School and the reigning midstate golfer of the year, said he is considering a handful of Division I schools including Memphis, Ole Miss and Lipscomb University.
Armstrong is the leader in the clubhouse after shooting a 6-under-par 66. About half of the field could not finish due to heavy thunderstorms that halted play about 1:30. Tournament officials later postponed the rest of the first round until this morning.
Play will resume at 8. The second round will begin at 9 with players remaining in the same groups and beginning one hour later than they did Tuesday.
McCallie senior Andrew Weathers and incoming University of Tennessee at Chattanooga freshman Michael Monroe lead the local contingent at 2-under 70. Walker Valley graduates Corey Evans and Clark Melton and Ringgold senior Brooks Thomas each shot even par.
Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh, who was hired less than three weeks ago after five years as an assistant at Alabama, spent some recruiting time Tuesday in Cummings Cove.
"I want to see the best players in our back yard and familiarize myself with them and get the Vandy logo out there," Limbaugh said. "We want the best golfing student-athletes in the state."
UTC head coach Mark Guhne made the decision to attend the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships and entrusted volunteer assistant coach Ben Rickett (who will get married Saturday to former UTC runner Shelley Taylor) to handle duties at Black Creek.
"There is so much golf to cover all summer that you have to split it up, and we're just now getting to the point where we can afford two guys on the road," Guhne said via cell phone. "Ben is watching the best kids in the state. Out here are some of the best in the world, including Tennessee kids."
UTC and Memphis were the only Division I schools in Tennessee to reach the NCAA national championship tournament. The Mocs finished 18th and Memphis finished 28th.
"It's very important to have somebody at the state junior every year," Guhne said. "The state junior gives us a chance to watch some of the best up-and-comers in the state."