The playoffs are next for Tennessee high school golf teams.
Up first for the premier teams and players in the greater Chattanooga area is the 18-hole Best of Preps City Championship. It begins this morning at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
"It's the end of the regular season for us," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Fisher, who is a tournament co-director. "This is a showcase of the best teams and best individuals in the area."
Teams in the A/AA classification will have district tournaments Monday, the AAA schools will start playoffs the following week and then private schools will dwindle down the number of teams heading to Willowbrook in Manchester for their respective state championships.
"This is our last competition until our region tournament," Baylor coach Gary Partrick said. "Tournament competition is a lot different than practice and challenge matches. It's a different stage, and different people react different ways."
The Best of Preps tournament consists of eight boys' teams, six girls' teams and 19 individuals not on those teams. McCallie won a team championship last year with then-senior Gordon Hulgan earning medalist honors. Baylor won the girls' championship with current Tennessee freshman Blakesly Warren medaling.
No dominant team -- boys or girls -- has yet to emerge in the Chattanooga area. There's a lot of good teams, but no steamrollers like there have been over the last decade.
"There's a lot of parity in Chattanooga-area golf," Partrick said. "The boys' tournament could be really interesting. In years past, there's been two or three that could win it. There's more this year."
The individual races could be as compelling as always. The boys' champion is usually under par, and the girls' medalist always seems to be around or under 72.
"This tournament is one with a lot of good kids, with good competition from all over," said CCS senior Scott Stevens, who has signed to play at South Carolina. "I definitely would like to win, especially since it's my last year and I love Bear Trace."
Unless teams have a match Thursday, the Best of Preps is the last chance this year for those in different classifications to compete against each other.
"It's a step in the journey of 2014," Partrick said. "It's always a fun tournament."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.