Golf season is officially in swing, as the Tullahoma High School teams got their regular seasons underway this week, taking part in the Lawrenceburg Invitational on Monday.
After two weeks of preseason, THS Head Coach Barry Bishop was ready to get the season underway. In the middle of July, Bishop said his team worked hard on the course, trying to improve before Monday’s tournament.
“We did a lot with trying to get everybody’s swings back in shape and analyze and kind of where we are as a team,” Bishop said. “I think everybody is progressing very well right now. We’ve kind of have a plan for every one of our players as far as what they need to work on and the skills that they’re getting. But not only that, we are dealing a lot with strategy.”
Heading into this year, both the THS girls and boys teams don’t have any senior members. At the end of last year, Hayden Blair was expected to be the lone Wildcat senior, however, he transferred to the Chattanooga area.
“We’ve got a relatively young team, some players that have not had much tournament experience as far as high school goes,” Bishop said. “Dealing with some of the adversity that you come into in high school tournaments, is kind of what we talked about. Some things are relatively simple, but other times, it gets a little more complex as you start talking about strategy for different holes, how you play different shots and things like that.”
On the boys side, the Wildcats’ coach said that he has seen junior Andrew Cardosi emerge as a leader for his squad. On the girls side, the Lady Wildcats have been led by sophomore Mallory TeVrucht, who was the District’s Player of the Year last season, and junior Ava Catherine Banks. Last season, the THS girls qualified for the state tournament.
Heading into Monday’s event in Lawrenceburg, Bishop said he was using that tournament as a measuring stick to see where his team is this early in the season. Both Tullahoma teams placed fourth overall.
On the boys side, the Wildcats tallied an overall score of 346. Franklin County took first place overall, combining to score a 325. Lawrence County took second at 329, while Shelbyville placed third at 333.
Individually, the Wildcats were led by Andrew Cardosi, who carded a score of 75, which placed him third overall in the individual competition. Isaac Lynch added an 88 for Tullahoma, while Sebastian Aguirre scored an 89 and Chase Wiley rounded out competition with a 94.
“I thought from what our practice was showing going into the event, that’s about where I expected us to finish,” Bishop said. “The Lawrence County event is different than a lot of the tournaments that we play in because they have quite a wide range of teams that are there. As far as the size of the schools, they have several small schools that compete there and then we have several from our district that really we only see about once, maybe twice throughout the whole season because our district is so geographically large.”
On the girls side, Tullahoma combined to put up an overall score of 164, finishing fourth overall. Summertown finished first overall in the tournament, with a score of 149. Lawrence County took second at 159, while Adamsville placed third at 162.
Individually, the Lady Wildcats were led by Banks, who carded an 81 during the tournament. TeVrucht also added an 83. During high school girls golf, the top two scorers determine a team’s overall score. Freshman Grae Hicks also shot for Tullahoma, carding an 85. However, her score did not factor into the Lady Wildcats’ overall performance.
“I would say our expectation level was pretty high going into the event,” Bishop said. “Again though, there’s a lot with all the competition there. There was a couple of smaller schools there that have very high quality teams that played in it and I think that showed in some of our positioning. I think, too, I was very pleased with Grae’s performance her first time to play in a high school event. I thought she did very well.”
After examining his team’s performance, Bishop said there are plenty of areas where his team can improve, heading into the second matchup of the year. Both THS teams will host Franklin County on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“I think one of [those areas to work on] was driving the ball and having the ball in play rather than having to switch to defense where you’re trying not to make a higher number on a hole,” Bishop said. “I think that was one of our big discussions, was trying to get that first ball of every hole in play where we can still fire at the hole location, wherever it is, and kind of transpose that same thing with the boys as far as hitting the ball on the green as opposed to hitting the ball around the green.”
One other area that Bishop wants his team to work on, is lowering the putt numbers. According to the THS coach, his team’s numbers in that area were higher than he would have liked.
“Our putt totals were a little bit higher in that tournament, whether it be the pressure of the event, whether it be the speed of the greens, just the different grasses, whatever,” Bishop said. “We took a lot more putts than what we had earlier in our first couple of weeks of practice.”