The Fort Payne Wildcats golf team opened its season with an eighth-place finish.
The ‘Cats participated in the 24th annual Blue/Gray Invitational Tournament in Montgomery on Monday in a 26-team field.
At every competition, the team of 10 splits into five, and the four best scores are selected and counted toward the team’s total.
After day one of the two-day tourney, the ‘Cats were only five strokes off of the leaderboard.
“Five shots out of the lead is really good,” golf head coach Zane Haymon said. “But, with a tournament that big, and with that many teams, it was a little more pressure on the final day.”
Haymon said it was the fifth time he’s been a part of a team that competed in the tournament, even though it’s only his second year leading the Wildcats as head coach.
The ‘Cats opened the tourney at the Wynn Lakes Course shooting a 308 in their first day, which was good enough for fourth place.
On Monday, eighth grader Dawson Garrett shot a 74 and was two over par. Senior Sam Evans, who played in his sixth Blue/Gray as a Wildcat, shot a 76, Micah Dodd fired a 77 and eighth-grade student Harrison Davis and Alex Mitchell each finished with an 81.
“Garrett played really good, and he was actually toward the top of the leaderboard,” Haymon said.
Haymon’s squad was primed to make a run at the top spot on the second day of the tournament, but the starting quintet shot a 322 with only one player shooting below an 80.
Dodd, who was actually playing in his first high school golf tournament, paced his team with a 78.
Garrett and Davis each shot an 81, Mitchell an 82 and Evans shot an 83.
The 630 over two days was 43 strokes better than the team played in last year’s tournament.
Haymon said his team is happy with how they performed, but they have no doubt they are going to get better.
“Being in that situation was really good for them, and that will be beneficial for us,” Haymon said. “They are already good, and they are only going to get better.”