published Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Five area individuals begin AAA state

Samantha Griffith has one more tournament to play before trading her Ooltewah High School red jersey for a purple one from Lipscomb University.

It happens to be the state championship.

Griffith will lead five Chattanooga-area golfers playing as individuals in the Class AAA event beginning today at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester.

"It's kind of sad that this is my last state tournament," said Griffith, who first participated as a sophomore. "I'm going to enjoy it and have fun with all my friends."

Griffith advanced to the state tournament by having one of the four best scores from a player not on the region championship team. She shot an 82 in the Region 3-AAA tournament.

"Sam has the game to win, but sometimes she becomes her own worst enemy," Ooltewah coach Mike McCullough said. "If she would believe and just play golf, she can shoot under par with no problem. If she plays to her potential, she can win."

Cleveland junior Heidi Barringer, who shot an 83, will be joining Griffith at Willowbrook. Barringer, who shot an 88 at the City Prep Championship, is the only other area girl participating this year.

Ooltewah junior Danny Gleeson and East Hamilton's Logan Price advanced in boys' play by shooting 76s and sharing second place in the region tournament. Walker Valley junior Kyle Limburg had a more challenging trip to the state tournament. He shot an 80 endured a three-man sudden-death playoff. Tucker Venable of East Hamilton bowed out on the first hole. Then Limburg won with a birdie on the third hole to dispatch White County's Haden Welch in quite a surprise.

"He played as our No. 5 for most of the year," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "That was some of the best golf under pressure I've seen.

"He's excited and we set our goal to stay in the 70s, and we'd love to be in the top 15 or 20 players."

East Hamilton coach Jeff Stetzler has slightly loftier goals for Price.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he plays well at state, because he plays a lot at Council Fire and WindStone," Stetzler said. "He's capable of shooting under par on a good day, and I think reasonable expectations are a top-10.

"But there are a lot of good individuals."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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