Fort Payne golfer Sam Evans picked a perfect time to put together his best round of the year.
With the Wildcats playing in the sectional tournament on Monday at Terrapin Hills Country Club and a trip to the sub state playoffs in the balance, Fort Payne coach Zane Haymon needed a big effort from his junior and that’s what he got.
Evans finished the day with a round of 73, which was the best of the day for Fort Payne.
Evans had been in this position before and his experience paid off in a big way.
“I really needed Sam to step up,” Haymon said. “Cole (Skaggs) has been in a little bit of a slump, and I knew if Sam didn’t play well I would have to get a big effort from our young guys.”
Evans parred the first five holes and finished one over at the turn. He lost only one stroke to par on the final nine. A couple of birdies helped him maintain the momentum throughout the rest of the day.
Haymon said this was one of Evan’s better performances of the year.
“All year Sam has been a little up and down,” Haymon said. “This was by far his most stable round of the year. For the most part, in the past, he would stick up a big number after a couple good holes. That was not the case today.”
His performance helped Fort Payne advance to the sub state tournament next week. The Wildcats finished with a team score of 314, which was good enough for fourth in the 15-team tournament.
The Wildcats landed behind a 297 by Hartselle, a 302 by Muscle Shoals and a surprise 310 by Scottsboro.
Haymon said it wasn’t his team’s best performance of the year, but Evans solid day and Cole Skaggs finishing his round strong got his team where they wanted to be, which was advancing to the next round.
Skaggs got off to a bad start as he triple bogied the second hole, but gathered himself and finished the back nine on a high note.
“After that disaster on number two, it would have been easy to just cash it in,” Haymon said. “Cole finished the front nine six over. But he was able to pick it up on the back nine and finished with a 77. That was huge for us that he picked it up like he did. He turned a bad day into a very respectable day.”
Seventh grader Dawson Garrett, playing in his first high school tournament, shot an 80 for the day.
Garrett hit a ball out of bounds on number seven and finished the front nine five over. On the back nine, he missed a couple greens on the wrong side and was unable to convert. He birdied number 18.
“That 80 by Dawson could just as easily have been a 75,” Haymon said. “I thought he played well in his first big test.”
Alex Mitchell scraped out an important 84 when it was in doubt about the team advancing. “Alex has really been steady the last week,” Haymon said. “I looked at the scores and thought we would have it made if Alex could get in with an 85-90. The 84 just seemed to wrap everything up.”
Seventh-grader Harrison Davis discovered how fickle golf can be. Last Friday against Scottsboro, Harrison was the medalist as he shot a one-over par. Monday, he lost the ball on the first hole and was never able to recover and wound up shooting a 92.
“Harrison is a fantastic golfer, and we aren’t worried about him,” Haymon said. “He’ll bounce back.”
The Cats will tee off Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Cypress Lakes in Muscle Shoals. Haymon said the team had a chance to advance if everyone on the team played their best at the same time.