'Cats place 3rd at opening tournament

Before head coach Nathan Wehunt took his young Wildcat golf team to Montgomery to participate in the 25th-annual Blue-Gray High School Golf Invitational Tournament, he said he would be pleased if the team logged a top ten finish.

The Wildcats exceeded their coach’s expectations and placed third out of 25 participating teams with a  score of 314.

The tournament was planned to be played on two courses, nine holes at both Wynlakes and Lagoon Park. Rain on Monday made the tournament change to an 18-hole round at Lagoon Park.

“I wish we could have gotten the first day in at Wynlakes,” Wehunt said. “We had a practice round there Sunday and our guys put up some low scores. Lagoon Park is much tighter and I didn’t know if we could duplicate our Sunday play. For us to go down there and place third after starting three freshmen, one sophomore and one senior is amazing.”

Tuesday’s round marked the first high school tournament for Fort Payne’s Jack Barker, Dylan Evans and Preston Neeley.

“Every one of our players really stepped up their game,” Wehunt said. “We expected Dawson (Garrett) and Harrison (Davis) to play well, but frankly I didn’t know our younger players would handle the pressure.”

The Wildcats’ score of 314 tied for third with Westbrook Christian. Houston Academy finished second just one stroke ahead and Spain Park won the tournament shooting a 307.

“We were so close to winning the entire tournament,” Wehunt said. “It was obvious that our team put in a lot of time practicing.”

Garrett paced the Wildcats with an even par 72 and was named to the All-Tournament Team. The lowest score for the day was just one stroke better than Garrett’s.

Davis nearly matched Garrett’s score, but a shot that found water on the 16th hole made him card a double-bogey and he finished with a 75.

Barker carded an 83, Evans was a stroke behind at 84 and Neeley shot a 92 for the day.

“These guys are only going to get better,” Wehunt said. “The future of Wildcat golf is very bright.”

Fort Payne will tee off from LaFayette, Georgia in their next tournament on Saturday.

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