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County’s entrants eager to improve on opening round

County’s entrants eager to improve on opening round
County’s entrants eager to improve on opening round | County’s entrants eager to improve on opening round

South Fulton’s Chase Mayfield and Union City’s Mollie Stone
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
MANCHESTER — All three Obion County players admittedly left the course with a bad taste in their mouths after the opening round of the Class A-AA State Golf Tournament Tuesday.
Each will get the chance to cleanse their palate today in the 36-hole event.
South Fulton’s Chase Mayfield, Mollie Stone of Union City and Mackenzee Pane of South Fulton all struggled and are well off the lead going into the second 18 holes of the tourney at WillowBrook Golf Club.
Mayfield, making his third consecutive appearance in the event and looking to improve on last year’s seventh-place showing, shot a first-day 78 and is tied for 22nd among 71 participants — nine shots behind defending champion Grant Daugherty of Alcoa who fired a 69.
Stone, who made a surprise appearance a year ago in the tournament as a sophomore for the Lady Tornadoes and finished a respectable 26th in a field of 52, came in with a 92 Tuesday and is tied for 23rd. She is part of pack of four — including Greenfield’s Haley Rawls — who trail tri-leaders Sara Dolmovich (Signal Mountain), Mindy Llewellyn (Harpeth) and Lyndsay McRee (Eagleville) by 16 strokes.
Pane, an 82-pound sophomore who made the field for the Devilettes, shot a 106 Tuesday in her first experience on the state level and is tied for 43rd going into today’s play.
Stone and Rawls were to play in the same foursome and tee-off at 8:40 this morning, while Mayfield was set to go off on the back-nine at 9:20. Pane was to play her second round at 9:40.
A pair of double-bogeys on his back-nine offset two birdies by Mayfield and kept him from being higher on the leader board. The slender, soft-spoken Red Devil ace had seven pars and two bogeys on the front side and finished with a 38-40.
He made no excuses for his play Tuesday, despite a 45-minute delay at the start due to fog.
“I’m just not hitting it real well right now,” Mayfield said afterward. “I don’t know if it’s my swing or in my head. I’m not hitting it as well as I did last year.
Playing for the second year at the WillowBrook track after the tourney was moved there two years ago from the Old Fort course in Murfreesboro, Mayfield said he wasn’t nervous and had enjoyed some success at the venue this summer when he shot 75-74 there to place third in a TGA event.
“I think I’d have to shoot even a little better than that tomorrow (today), maybe around even-par to get among the leaders,” he added.
Last year, Mayfield was just two shots off the Day 1 leaders after shooting a 71. He followed that up with an 80 for a Top 10 finish after placing 37th in the field as a sophomore.
SF coach Leah McFarland said Mayfield had indeed struggled some with his swing this fall.
“He hasn’t hit it as well, for whatever reason,” she agreed. “But he’s certainly capable of coming out here on Wednesday and going low.”
Union City’s Stone registered a pair of 46s on Tuesday and could never string together a run to overcome a double-bogey, double-bogey start.
She parred one hole on the front side and was headed toward better things on the back before taking an eight on the par-four 15th.
Her coach, Jason Qualls, was optimistic that Stone could bounce back in today’s second day of play.
“Mollie would be the first one to tell you she didn’t play well, but she also knows that the same folks who finished in front of her today could have the kind of day she had today on Wednesday and she could play as well as they did,” Qualls said. “She’s such a competitor. I really expect her to come out here Wednesday (today) and act like today didn’t happen and shoot the really good score that she’s capable of shooting.”
Stone shot 94-92 last year on the way to a middle-of-the-pack finish in a 52-player girls’ state tourney field.
Pane, who understandably suffered from a case of the nerves early and shot a 58 on holes 1-9, settled down nicely on the back side, parring the first two holes on her way to a 48.
She had only three holes of double-bogey or worse on Nos. 10-18 after having seven such holes on the front side.
“I really hope she understands that she earned her trip here and she belongs here,” McFarland said of Pane. “She’s watched Chase (Mayfield) for the last couple of years and understands he gained a great deal of experience when he made it as a sophomore.
“She wants to follow in his shoes and to be able to compete at the top of the leaderboard, and this is part of the process.
“Her goal was to shoot 90 here. If she has some carryover on Wednesday from some of the good things she did on the back-side today, that’s a realistic goal. I’d like for her to leave here with a good taste in her mouth.”
The same can be said for Mayfield and Stone as well.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.28.11

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