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Better day a good send-off for UC, SF entrants

Better day a good send-off for UC, SF entrants
Better day a good send-off for UC, SF entrants | Better day a good send-off for UC, SF entrants
Messenger Sports Editor
Better scores on Day 2 of the Class A-AA State Golf Tournament will serve as nice consolation prizes for Chase Mayfield and Mollie Stone.
Both local prep linksters returned to the state level — South Fulton’s Mayfield for the third straight year and Stone of Union City for the second — and improved from what each termed “disappointing” play over Tuesday’s first 18 holes for respectable finishes in the event played at the WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester.
Mayfield placed 15th among a field of 71 golfers after bettering his Day 1 score (78) by four stokes on Wednesday. Stone finished in a tie for 22nd in a 52-player field after carding an 86 that followed a 92 on Tuesday.
South Fulton sophomore Mackenzee Pane matched her score of 106 shot on the first day’s competition and wound up 46th.
Dowling Armstong of David Lipscomb shot a blistering 6-under-par 66 on Wednesday to win the boys’ championship with a two-day score of 138. Creek Wood’s Marlee Ingham was the wire-to-wire winner on the girls’ side with a 147, six shots better than her closest competitor.
Mayfield, who placed seventh in the tourney as a junior a year ago — a huge improvement over his finish of 37th the year before — was steady, if not spectacular, on Wednesday.
He parred 16 of 18 holes and had just two bogeys, one of those due to a three-putt, while carding two 37s.
Both the player and his coach, Leah McFarland, claimed he struck the ball better than on Day 1, but couldn’t capitalize by dropping putts.
“I actually felt better today and I hit the ball a little better. Maybe it was just knowing I didn’t have any pressure on me because of what I shot on Tuesday,” Mayfield said, alluding to his first-day 78 score. “I just couldn’t making anything (putt).”
McFarland’s take was similar.
“If he could’ve putted a little better … he left several shots out there,” she claimed. “I wish he could’ve played a little better on Tuesday.
“I think it kind of hit him today that this is it. He had a wonderful career at South Fulton and is such a great young man.”
The college circuit is a likelihood for Mayfield, who said he’s leaning toward Bethel University if the Wildcats offer a scholarship. Murray State has also shown interest and is a strong possibility.
Stone didn’t hide her dissatisfaction with her two-day total that was still eight strokes better than she shot last year at the same venue in her first appearance at the highest level.
“I was disappointed, really, in how I played,” she told The Messenger after completing Wednesday’s round. “I worked so hard to get back here, and when I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do and knew I could do, it was frustrating.
“I had better composure today (Wednesday). I didn’t start as well as I’d have liked, but I finished better.”
The highlight of Stone’s second-day round was a 40-foot made-putt for birdie on the par-3 eighth hole. She finished with a 42-44.
Stone and playing partner Haley Rawls of Greenfield, who ironically shot the same scores on both days to finish tied as they did a year ago, were plagued by slow play each day. It took more than six hours to play each day’s rounds.
“It was very hard to stay focused when you’re waiting all day and standing around,” Stone confirmed.
UC coach Josh Qualls acknowledged the frustration with the poor pace of play, but called it “part of the learning experience.”
“I actually thought Mollie dealt better with the slow pace today (Wednesday) than she did Tuesday,” he said. “You just have to learn to play with those distractions because you’ll have to play the waiting game at some point on some level if you continue on.
“She played better today. And I think that because she was disappointed in her scores, it’ll serve as great motivation for her to get back here next year and do better.”
The personable Stone said she’ll take little time off in the offseason in hopes of continuing the improvement that saw her emerge as one of the area’s top female players this fall. She also claimed she drew great inspiration from teammate Josh McManus this season after McManus overcame a knee injury to qualify for the regional tournament.
Pane’s seasoning at the event will only make her better, according to McFarland.
“She hit the ball better the second day, which was a positive, and she had a birdie today (Wednesday), which was another one,” the coach said. “Her putting kept her from shooting a much better score the second day.
“We’re just so proud of her and for her. We’re going to get her on some weights in the offseason to improve her strength and I think that will help her. She’s a typical competitor in that she wants to be the best at whatever she does. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t improve a lot by next fall.”
Pane shot a 55-51, the highlight her “2” on the par-3 third hole.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at Published in The Messenger 9.29.11

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