Tennessee Junior Amateur golf tournament starts at Cleveland Country Club

Tennessee Junior Amateur golf tournament starts at Cleveland Country Club

July 9th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Golf

Chattanooga Christian's Scott Stevens plays at Black Creek Golf Club in this file photo.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Mikey Feher

Mikey Feher

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

The Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship will be a home game of sorts for the Chattanooga-area boys' golfers taking part, because they can have the comforts of home while competing at Cleveland Country Club.

But it also seem like a road game. Most of the seven area participants have played less than 10 rounds at Cleveland, where the three-day tournament begins this morning.

"It doesn't get any better than staying at home," Baylor rising senior Mikey Feher said. "You're close, but you still don't know the course."

Blake Maum, who is headed to Gardner-Webb late this summer, never had laid eyes on the course, let alone putted on its bentgrass greens, until Monday.

Scott Stevens, who tied for 10th in the Junior last year, hasn't played the course for at least five years.

"It's going to be nice to stay at home and not have to worry about a hotel and stuff," said Stevens, a rising junior at Chattanooga Christian. "From what I remember, it's not too tricky of a course. We should be OK."

Baylor's Blake Maum watches his drive head down the fairway of hole 17 during the final round of the Division II golf championship at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester, Tenn.

Baylor's Blake Maum watches his drive head down...

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

And like many golfers across the state, Maum, Feher and Gordon Hulgan barely have practiced in the last week due to all of the rain.

"When the raid would stop, I'd sneak over and see how many balls I could hit," Maum said. "I hit a lot more on Sunday, and I was surprised because I was swinging it pretty good."

Feher said he practiced for 30 minutes Sunday before the rains returned.

"I'm going to say the Chattanooga kids are going to have a disadvantage because we haven't been able to hit balls," Feher said. "It's not an excuse. I think we'll still finish on top."

Gordon Hulgan of McCallie makes a putt at the TSSAA Division II state golf tournament in this 2011 file photo.

Gordon Hulgan of McCallie makes a putt at...

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

Lake Johnson of CCS, Alexander Riddle of Notre Dame and Nic Vandeventer of Baylor are the other area high-schoolers participating in the 72-man field.

"There's more pressure on us because we're from the area," Hulgan said. "And college coaches will be there, so this would be a really good tournament to impress everybody.

"It's one of the biggest tournaments I have this summer."

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