Tennessee prep golf
Sept. 25-26 Class AAA
Oct. 1-2 Division II
Oct. 9-10 Class A/AA
Three boys' teams to watch
Three individual boys to watch
Gordon Hulgan, McCallie junior
Scott Stevens, CCS sophomore
Mikey Feher, Baylor senior
Three girls' teams to watch
Three individual girls to watch
Blakesly Warren, Baylor senior
Lydia Triplett, Polk County senior
Jenna Burris, St. Andrew's-Sewanee
The professional golfers haven't even begun their fourth major of the year, but the Tennessee high school season has begun.
The Chattanooga area is stocked with individual talent but may be lacking team depth that has helped area schools win 12 of a possible 18 TSSAA championships in three divisions the last three years.
"There are a lot of great individuals, so I think they will take the spotlight this season more than the teams," said McCallie coach Tony Meyers, who has won two straight Division II-AA titles. "But there are only a few teams with much depth."
The Blue Tornado may be the area team — girls' squads included — that is in the best position to win a state crown this season. McCallie returns its top five players and six of its top eight from last season.
The Tornado won their state event by 19 strokes, although it was shortened to 18 holes because of weather. Gordon Hulgan was the medalist, Case White was runner-up, Patrick McDonald tied for third and Andrew Weathers came in seventh.
"A lot of my guys have been playing well this summer, but until you do things it's all in theory what they'll do this fall," Meyers said. "I think our guys thrive on one another."
Notre Dame also won a Tennessee boys' championship last year in Class A/AA. The Irish graduated team leaders David Weeks and Kyle Holley but return with brothers Will and Patrick Armor.
Signal Mountain claimed its third straight Class A/AA girls' title with graduated senior Sarah Dolmovich leading the way. That leaves senior Haley Davidson as the leader this season.
Walker Valley was the Class AAA girls' runner-up but lost Avery George to Middle Tennessee State, leaving Katie Bishop to carry the mantle.
The most stunning event of the 2011 fall championships turned out to be a defeat — a heartbreak. Ensworth clipped the Baylor girls' team by two strokes, which ended a 16-year run of state titles for the Red Lady Raiders.
Baylor could have set the outright national record for most consecutive golf state championships. It remains tied with Xavier Prep in Phoenix at 16 straight.
"I want us to win it all," senior Blakesly Warren said. "This year, we're back and ready to fight and take it back because it's ours. I would very much like to start a new streak."
The Lady Raiders have three returning varsity players and incoming freshman Katie Holmes, who won the CDGA city junior championship.
"We want to play better at crunch time," coach Gary Partrick said. "Losing last year has us refocused. I'm hoping that with a renewed focus and determination we can get back to the play we're using to being, and on October second we'll have the gold instead of the silver."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...