SF’s Mayfield 3rd; UC’s Stone fits in at state finale

SF’s Mayfield 3rd; UC’s Stone fits in at state finale
SF's Mayfield 3rd; UC's Stone fits in at state finale

South Fulton’s Chase Mayfield lines up a drive on a short par-3 at the Class A-AA State Golf Tournament.
MANCHESTER — What a difference a year makes.
Just 12 months ago, South Fulton’s Chase Mayfield was a bright-eyed sophomore taking to the course for the first time at the Class A-AA State Golf Tournament and Union City’s Mollie Stone was a newcomer to the sport.
On Tuesday, Mayfield made his presence as a contender known on Day 1 at the A-AA links finale, finishing the round in third place with an one-under-71 — just two shots off the pace set by the leader.
Meanwhile, Stone, who has been a quick links learner in the past 12 months, made a respectable debut at the event — ending the day in a four-way tie for 28th out of 52 female golfers.
Stone, who is seventh am-ong the 15 sophomores in the field, totaled a 94 for the day to tie Covington’s Olivia Fowler, Summertown’s Alley Benefi-eld and Milan’s Rilee Taylor.
Mayfield was to tee off this morning at 10:30, while Stone was to begiin her second day on WillowBrook Golf Club course at 9:30.
Heading into today’s second and final round, Mayfield is behind only Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Kory Webb, who fired a 69 on Tuesday; and Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Peyton Deming, who totaled a 70 in Round 1.
Consistency was the name of the game for Mayfield on Tuesday.
The Red Devil junior parred his first four and last four holes in Round 1, utilizing a two-putt strategy — when on the green with a shot to spare — and keeping his eye on the big prize.
 “I played a little conservative today,” said Mayfield, who told that this year’s course is easier than last year’s (Old Fort in Murfreesboro). “I could have gone after a few more birdies, but I was focused on just getting par on every hole I could.
“I know this tournament isn’t going to be won on the first day.”
All totaled, Mayfield shot an even score on 11 holes. He fired a birdie on holes 5, 7, 10 and 14.
Though solid throughout the day, Mayfield did face and ace a challenge on the 12th hole, scrambling to save par with an uphill putt and avoiding a drop back to an even scorecard for the tournament.
Mayfield’s approach shot was low and short on No. 12.
That in mind, Mayfield’s tee and approach shots were, for the most part, longer than usual, though not as straight as is the norm — due to the windy conditions in Manchester.
“I’m a year older and not as nervous as I was last year,” Mayfield said when asked about his improved play from a 47th-place finish in 2009. “I made some bad shots, but I didn’t let it get to me like I did last year.”
Mayfield’s only bogeys were on holes 6, 8 and 9.
The one-over score on the eighth hole came due to what was the Red Devil standout’s only true struggle on the greens as it took three putts to find the bottom of the cup.
“He kept his composure when he had the back-to-back bogeys and didn’t let it get to him,” SF golf coach Leah McFarland said. “A score of 1-under is about all I could ask for at the state tournament.”
Stone’s score could have been much lower if not for a string of bad luck on the putting surface of the back nine holes.
Stone — who began her trek at the Class A-AA finale on the 10th hole — birdied No. 12 thanks to a beautiful approach shot that landed three feet from the pin.
However, trouble was just around the corner as the Union City  sophomore had a string of four out of five holes (13, 15, 16 and 17) where she three-putted.
Stone also needed a two-putt to bogey No. 14. After nine holes, Stone, who found the water hazard on 17, had a 50.
“I missed a lot of two-footers and it frustrated me,” Stone said afterward. “When I started the front nine, I told myself that it was a new set of nine holes and I was going to do better.”
On the front nine of the course the Union City youngster mounted a comeback of sorts with three parred holes and no score higher than a double-bogey.
“She battled back and that’s the most important thing she should take from this day,” UC golf coach Jason Qualls said. “Yeah, she got frustrated and she needs to keep her emotions in check, but those type of things come with being a sophomore at this type of tournament.”
Divots: Stone’s 94 was good enough for second place — in a tie with Covington’s Fowler and Milan’s Taylor — among Region 7A-AA competitors at the state tournament. Stone, Fowler and Taylor were behind Lady Bulldog Leah Watson (83), but ahead of Greenfield’s Haley Rawls (95) Milan’s Hannah Blair (101) and Camden’s Resa Herndon (109). … On the boys’ side, Region 7A-AA and District 14A-AA champion Austin Smith of Westview was seven strokes off the leader’s pace with a 76. Milan’s Will Brewer, Dylan Murphree, Michael Duncan, Taylor Stuckey and Seth Dortch carded respective scores of 78, 81, 83, 84 and 85. Additionally, Bradford’s Keith Hodgens came to the clubhouse with an 85, while Gibson County’s Shane Peden, who played alongside SF’s Mayfield on Tuesday, finished with an 86.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker @ucmessenger.com.

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