|NASHVILLE -- The mental aspect of golf was in abundant display during Monday’s Big East Conference match at Birchwood County Club.
SENSE OF DIRECTION. Northern Nash’s Tommy Howard appears to be pointing the ball toward the hole during Monday’s Big East golf event at Birchwood CC in Nashville. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)
Competitors braved heavy winds, cold temperatures and Birchwood’s slick greens as part of the third league event of the 2013 campaign.
Before his team arrived at the course, Southern Nash coach Scott Collie warned his players that blocking out bad thoughts about the horrible weather conditions would be paramount to success.
“The weather has been bad all spring, and this was no exception,’’ Collie said. “We talked before the match about how we were going to have to be mentally tough.
“I was actually amazed that the scoring was as good as it was. Really, it was a victory just to get 18 holes in.’’
Despite winds that were almost unbearable at times -- and even blew in a few snow flurries -- Wilson Fike’s Brian Reneau and Wilson Hunt’s John Morton were able to tie for medalist honors with identical 79s.
Reneau helped Wilson Fike continue its season-long team dominance as the Golden Demons finished at 330 strokes -- 13 better than runner-up Southern Nash, which has been in second place for every match this spring.
Wilson Hunt was third at 352, followed by Northern Nash (362), Rocky Mount (375) and Nash Central (413).
As usual, Birchwood’s tough greens played a factor. A perfect example came from Southern Nash’s Matthew May, who hit a brilliant shot on the 18th hole, working his attempt around a tree limb to within 12 feet of the cup.
But faced with an uphill attempt, May didn’t hit it hard enough and wound up three-putting. May, one of SN’s most accomplished performers, would finish with an 87.
Competitors faced similar situations throughout the day, including a Wilson Hunt player who dropped a nice tee shot to within 15 feet of the cup on the par-3 17th.
But the ball was above the hole, and the player, not wanting to send his putt beyond the cup, didn’t hit it hard enough on the birdie try.
His next putt rode past the hole, and the uphill shot for bogey was missed, too, for a four-putt double.
“You have to manage the course at Birchwood,’’ Collie said. “You have to know what part of the green to hit to, but that’s hard when it is so windy.’’
SN’s top scorer was Haywood Brantley, who overcame water issues at 18 to card an 82.
After taking next week off for Spring Break, the Big East will return to Birchwood on April 9.
Monday’s scores were as follows:
• Wilson Fike (330) -- Brian Reneau (79), Cameron Suddereth (81), Jay Horne (82) and Turner Garris (88)
• Southern Nash (343) -- Haywood Brantley (82), Josh Harden (85), Matthew May (87) and Luke May (89)
• Wilson Hunt (352) -- John Morton (79), Adam Blevins (86), Jacob Dowd (93) and Colin Blalock (94)
• Northern Nash (362) -- Zach Stussie (84), Matt Bertilino (88), Tucker Daughtridge (91) and Thomas Howard (99)
• Rocky Mount (375) -- James Martin (84), Dylan Hendricks (89), Tyler Holland (95) and Mark Whitley (107)
• Nash Central (413) -- Dylan Laviner (94), Garrett Tant (103), Jacob Lewis (105) and Michael Gunther (111)