Coach Zane Haymon’s Wildcat golf team will kick off the season next week with a two-day tournament in Montgomery.
The Blue-Gray is one of the oldest high school tournaments in the state.
“We’ll find out right off the bat how good we are going to be and also discover those areas that need improving,” Haymon said. “There will be over 30 teams competing and most of them will be extremely strong.”
This will be one of the youngest teams Fort Payne has ever started the season with, but Haymon said there is plenty of talent.
“Sam Evans is the only senior on the team, so we are really going to count on his leadership,” he said. “His game has really come around. He expects to be at or below par every time out.
“Four of our top five players from last year also return, and they are all talented and have worked hard this summer.”
Dawson Garrett and Harrison Davis, both eighth graders, and junior Alex Mitchell, are poised to have breakout seasons.
Among the three of them, they have competed in more than 35 tournaments this summer. All three are capable of putting up low numbers.
Micah Dodd qualified as the No. 5 man.
“Micah just lived on the course this summer, and his numbers show how hard he has worked,” Haymon said.
Another eighth grader, Dylan Evans, can help the team by providing depth.
“Dylan had surgery in the fall and he is still recovering,” Haymon said. “Freshman Jack Barker is one of the hardest workers on the team. He has come a long way from this time last year.
Preston Neeley and Ian McBryer are continuing to improve, and Sebastian Burt has joined the team from the wrestling team.”
The team will play Monday at Wynlakes and Tuesday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. They will play a singles match at Scottsboro on March 7.They have six additional tournaments scheduled, as well.
The Wildcats will compete in one of the toughest sections in the state. Hartselle, Muscle Shoals, Cullman and Briarwood have all advanced to the state. Hartselle won the championship last year and return their entire team. Muscle Shoals missed going to state by one stroke and they return everyone, as well.
Because of scheduling conflicts, the Wildcats only have one home match, which will be April 14 against Scottsboro.