E.A. Sports Today

Turley finishes top 5

Oxford fourth-grader putts well, but Drive, Chip & Putt journey ends in subregional; Lecroy finishes strong at Torrey Pines

Erin Turley displays her second-place putting medal at Thursday's Drive, Chip & Putt subregional in Tennessee. On the cover, Turley awaits her turn to hit.

Erin Turley displays her second-place putting medal at Thursday’s Drive, Chip & Putt subregional in Tennessee. On the cover, Turley awaits her turn to hit.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LOUDON, Tenn. – It didn’t turn out quite as she had hoped, but Oxford’s Erin Turley still had a top five finish in the Drive, Chip & Putt subregional today.

Turley, a 9-year-old rising fourth grader at Oxford Elementary, finished fifth in the girls 10-11 division at Tennessee National GC. Another qualifier with local ties, Mark Sawyer of Cedar Bluff, finished 10th in the boys 12-13 division.

The top two qualifiers in each age group advanced to TPC Sawgrass in September.

“It was a fun experience,” Erin said. “I liked coming up here. I was hoping I would win, but I played pretty good. I’d like to come back here next year.”

Her dad, Benji, said Erin hit “everything solid, everything on line,” but the lightning-fast bentgrass greens on the Greg Norman-signature course challenged her distance control on chips and putts.

She was second in her age group in putting. She nearly holed her first two putts, but got a little aggressive on her final attempt. She got a silver medal.

“The chips were going to be good, but those greens were really, really fast and they just rolled and rolled,” she said. “I almost made the first putt and the second one just turned right at the end.”

They headed back to Calhoun County shortly after finishing, but got caught in traffic in the aftermath of the armed services recruiting and support center shootings in Chattanooga.

They got a sense something was unfolding when they noticed a SWAT team outside a recruiting center in the strip mall near where they stopped for lunch in Cleveland. They got caught in traffic near the I-24/75 split in Chattanooga.

“It was crazy,” Benji Turley said. “It was definitely scary.”

Meanwhile, Sawyer hit three “pretty good” drives and finished in the top five of that segment, but fell back in the other two elements.

“I didn’t do that well for my personal expectations, but I really enjoyed it and felt it was a good experience for me,” he said. “I had a lot of fun. It was really cool.”

His golf adventure isn’t over. On Friday he’ll be heading down to Auburn to work as a volunteer at the Barbasol Championship.

“That’s going to be really awesome,” he said. “I’ll focus on how they handle things and see if that doesn’t help me.”

STRONG FINISH: Jacob Lecroy is heading to Los Angeles with a load of confidence after shooting his best round of the week in what would be his final round at Torrey Pines.

Lecroy posted a 6-over-par 78 in Thursday’s third round of the IMG Academy Junior World Championship. He 31-over for 54 holes and didn’t make the cut to Friday, but left the grounds feeling good about his game and was $100 richer.

He posted a better score each day he played.

“I’m really proud of how I played today,” he said. “I didn’t have a big number today. I bogeyed No. 1 and that was a big help. I felt like I learned the course every day I played it better.”

Jacob didn’t have a triple bogey in the round; he played the four holes he tripled earlier in the tournament no worse than bogey. When he bogeyed No. 1, a hole he tripled each of the first two rounds, he gave his dad, Lewis, a big fist pump.

He laid up on the fifth hole to a good yardage and hit it to within a foot for par. He birdied the par-5 sixth by hitting a wedge from 82 yards to three feet.

“I was hitting my wedge good all day and getting up and down on the par-4s,” he said. “I was playing smart.”

And smart paid off – literally.

Jacob had just made par on the par-3 third and No. 4 was a long par-4 he bogeyed each of the previous two rounds. Lewis told him on the way to the tee if he parred the hole he’d lay $100 on him. Jacob played a 3-wood away from a tucked pin to 35 feet and two-putted for the C-note.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

It’ll go a long way on their next stop, the Veritas World Junior outside of Los Angeles, where he’ll only be competing against 15-year-olds. One of his playing partners Thursday plays the Veritas course and they plan to play a practice round together.

JUNIOR TOUR WINNERS: Trevor Lane of White Plains and Chloe Borders of Jacksonville Christian won their respective flights in the Future Champions Junior Golf Tour event at Twin Bridges.

Lane shot 3-under-par 69 and won the boys first flight by 10 shots. Borders shot 75 to edge Calhoun County girls champion Layne Dyar by two.

The other flight winners were Charlie Smith, Hailey Tidwell and Isabel Rogers.

EVENING AT THE OAKS: Indian Oaks is holding an steak dinner fundraiser to help defray the cost of mowing equipment. Tickets are $100 per couple and sittings are available either Aug. 21 or Aug. 22. For more information call the club at 820-4030.

Jacob Lecroy returns his ball to its spot before knocking in a three-foot birdie putt on No. 6 at Torrey Pines Thursday. (Photo by Lewis Lecroy)

Jacob Lecroy returns his ball to its spot before knocking in a three-foot birdie putt on No. 6 at Torrey Pines Thursday. (Photo by Lewis Lecroy)

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