E.A. Sports Today

Lady Wildcats seek elusive County title

GOLF NOTES: Dyar defends medalist, but seeks team title; McClellan leaves Indian Oaks, tournament call, hole-in-one

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Layne Dyar remembers the feeling coming off the 18th green at Pine Hill Country Club last year.

She was happy to win the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win medalist honors in the Calhoun County Girls Golf Championship, but it was muted joy as her White Plains team watched Alexandria hoist yet another team championship trophy.

“I won by myself, but I’d rather have won with my team,” she said.

Of course the senior Jacksonville State signee would like to repeat as individual champion when this year’s event tees off Friday at Pine Hill, but the main focus will be on grabbing that elusive team title.

The Lady Wildcats are projected as the heavy favorite in the six-school team chase, although they are expected to face a serious run from the defending champion Lady Cubs. Last year the margin between the two teams was only seven shots; two years ago it was 50.

“It would mean a lot to win the county,” White Plains coach Marcus Harrell said. “When I first got here we listed several goals and one of the biggest we had was winning the county championship and we haven’t been able to do achieve that. It’s something that sits in the back of our mind.”

Interestingly, even though they didn’t win the county, the Lady Wildcats did go on to win the state championship in an emotional run fueled by the tragic loss of teammate Keaten Beam a week after the county.

Dyar said Beam is “still a very present part of the team.” The players still carry their memorial bag tags and “make sure” they’re wearing their commemorative bracelets during their rounds.

A year ago the Lady Wildcats held a one-shot team lead after the first round and was effectively ahead by seven shots through the early holes of the final, but they just didn’t close. Dyar called it “a major letdown … just heartbreaking.”

“We just didn’t play our best down the stretch,” Harrell said. “We talked about winning the county ever since we ended last year. We always set new goals every year and the first big goal has always been county. We’d really like to get some positive momentum at the end of the season here. One way we can get that would be by winning the county championship.”

They’ll certainly carry a lot of confidence into the tournament. On Wednesday they won the Chesley Oaks Invitational in Cullman. Dyar was low medalist with a 77, while Lexee Cunningham and Morgan Prickett both counted 82s. Hanna Dyar shot 84, giving the Lady Wildcats a nice tight group on the scoreboard.

The individual race is likely to be a lot tighter than the team race. Dyar’s primary competition is expected to come from teammate Prickett, Alexandria’s Taylor Snow and Abby Stevens, Pleasant Valley’s Madilyn Turner, JCA’s Chloe Borders and Oxford’s Kayla Huckeba.

“I’m real excited going into the weekend,” Dyar said, “but I know I’ll have to play my best to come out on top. I really think if I play my very, very best I can go really low.”

The tee assignments for the opening round are listed below.

HELP WANTED: Anniston Country Club isn’t the only golf facility in town in the market for a GM/head pro. Ron McClellan has resigned as Indian Oaks’ director of golf in a dispute over the distribution of prizes in last weekend’s Indian Oaks Championship. The tournament offered nearly $2,000 in merchandise prizes, but some winners sought cash and club officials acquiesced. McClellan said he will honor the gift certificates still outstanding; players should contact him directly at 452-3307.

SPOTS STILL AVAILABLE: Entries are currently being accepted for two events affiliated with the Calhoun County Golf Tour.

The Calhoun County 4-Ball at Anniston Municipal is set for April 30-May 1. Entry fee for the new event, which is run directly by the Calhoun County Golf Tour, is $110 per player/$220 per team. The field is limited to the first 60 teams. For more information call Matt Rogers at 453-0206.

Fewer than 10 days remain to take advantage of an early entry discount to the Oxford City Championship April 23-24 at Cider Ridge Golf Club. Players registering by the April 16 deadline pay $135; it’s $150 after that. Call the pro shop (831-7222) for more information.

RELIEF ON THE GREEN: Looking for a chance to relax after mailing off that tax return? Cider Ridge is offering a Tax Relief Night around the practice area from 5-7 p.m. April 15. Offerings include free range balls, long drive and chipping contests, the popular Flop Wall, Track-Man analysis, 15 percent merchandise discounts (excludes clubs), a Callaway Demo Day and Snag Golf for kids. The event is open to all golfers.

ACE IN THE CROWD: Cider Ridge passholder Daniel Sanshu scored his first ever hole-in-one on Wednesday when he aced No. 17 at the Oxford course from 146 yards with a 9-iron.

At Pine Hill Country Club

Friday’s pairings

Hole 1: Layne Dyar, White Plains; Chloe Borders, JCA; Taylor Snow, Alexandria.
2: Morgan Prickett, White Plains; Abby Stevens, Alexandria; Madilyn Turner, Pleasant Valley.
3: Hanna Dyar, White Plains; Kayla Huckeba, Oxford; Jordan Pope, Saks.
5: Lexee Cunningham, White Plains; Allison Arenth, Alexandria; Cheyenne James, Saks.
7: Anna Bolton, Oxford; Sarah Ford, Pleasant Valley; Abbie Vingers, Sacred Heart.
9: Kaylee Reaves, Oxford; Maria Limberis, Jacksonville; Katelyn Barnett, White Plains.
10: Ary Rosario, White Plains; Cara Burgess, Weaver; Jennifer Torres, Saks.
12: Autumn Ray, Weaver; Celia Landers, Jacksonville; Hailey Tidwell, White Plains.
14: Ally Ledbetter, White Plains; Gabby Fagan, Pleasant Valley; Madison Spivey, Piedmont.
15: Callie McFall, Jacksonville; Caitlyn Lewis, White Plains.
17: Lacy Williams, Pleasant Valley; Cindy Lopez, Anniston.

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