When Fort Payne head golf coach Zane Haymon took his young golf team to Burningtree Country Club, he would have been happy to finish in the top four. He got better than that.
The team put together their best outing of the season and finished second in the Class 6A, Section 4 golf tournament with a 313. Muscle Shoals High School, who took first in the tourney, was the only team to finish above the ‘Cats with a score of 301.
Eighth grader Dawson Garret finished at even par, which tied him for low medalist, and senior Sam Evans, who was playing with a back injury, fired a 77.
Alex Mitchell played one of his best matches of the year. He finished with an 80. Harrison Davis struggled early, but he held on for an 84.
”I was really proud of the way our guys finished,” Haymon said. “At about the 12th hole I thought we had no chance, but it seemed everyone picked it up. Putts started to fall, balls found the fairway, and we started to pull together. Dawson had just taken a six on a par three to put him above par for the first time, Sam was really struggling with his back, and it looked like Harrison and Alex were headed for big numbers. Dawson and Sam put together three birdies and Harrison and Alex started getting up and down and things started looking up.”
The Wildcats finished and posted the 313. As more and more scores were posted, Fort Payne started feeling more confident. Athens finished third behind the Wildcats with a 317 and defending state champion Hartselle slipped in with a 318.
One of the big bylines about the match was the play of Garrett. He was three under par after eight holes. He posted a bogey and then a triple bogey to go one over par. He birdied the par 5 to get back even and just missed a couple putts on the last few holes. He posted the 72 and waited for everyone to come in.
Senior Jake Tiffin, a signee with Troy University, was the last to post and both finished even resulting in a playoff.
Garrett won on the first playoff hole when he dropped a 12-foot putt after Tiffin had missed his shot.
“I thought I would be nervous with everyone gathering around to watch, but I wasn’t,” Garrett said. “He got in trouble on his second shot, so I played it safe and it worked out.”
The team needs a win or second-place next Monday at Teri Pines in Cullman to advance to the State.
“As well as we played today, I’m not sure a 313 will make it for us, but these guys are going to give us everything they’ve got.” Haymon said.