Knoxville Halls wins second straight season opening MIT title
Morristown East’s Andrew McGinnis putts on the ninth green at The Country Club during the 38th annual Mike Mills Boys Morristown Invitational golf tournament Monday morning.
On a tough day for scoring on a perfectly groomed course at The Country Club, Inc. Monday, the Knoxville Halls golf team bedeviled the field at the 38th annual Mike Mills Boys Morristown Invitational to pick up their second win in a row in the event.
The Red Devils fired a team score of 315 to win the tournament by four strokes over Science Hill (319) and five over third place Tennessee High (320). Volunteer finished fourth at 324, Powell ended up fifth at 327 and Cocke County led the Lakeway Area contingent with a sixth place finish at 328.
Jefferson County totaled a score of 332 to finish seventh, while Cherokee was eighth at 335. Carter brought home a ninth place finish with a 349, and Seymour closed out the top 10 at 352.
Morristown East fired a 357 to finish 11th overall, while Greeneville was 12th at 360. Sevier County (361) and Campbell County (361) tied for 13th, Grainger (363) ended up 15th, Knox Central (366) was 16th, Bearden came home 17th at 370, Daniel Boone (387) finished 18th and Morristown West was 19th at 395. South-Doyle, the tournament’s 20th team, fielded an incomplete score with just three players.
Jefferson County had the most consistent day with four players each turning in an 83. Justin Saylor, Jake Barnes, Andrew Briggs and Trevor Gentry had the same score for the Patriots.
“We are capable of shooting better than that, but the important thing is not today but a month or month-and-a-half down the road,” Jefferson County coach Rick Sinard said.
“This tournament certainly shows us where we are. We know Science Hill and Tennessee High have pretty good teams, and we weren’t far behind them. We are in a good position early, but we need to improve.”
Connor Long led Morristown East with an 88, while Andrew McGinnis and Hunter Blanken each fired an 89. Jacob Elkins added a 91 to close the scoring for the Hurricanes.
“We had a decent showing for an early season outing with some stiff competition,” East coach Brandon Olson said. “I am looking forward to see how the boys respond to the good competition in the IMAC in our future matches. Based on the results today, it looks like we will be in the middle tier of the IMAC, but with some work we could give some of the upper IMAC teams a run for their money, especially on our home course.
“Based on the team results today, Jeff County is going to be very tough, with Cocke County nipping on their heels. Cherokee is strong as well. It is up to the rest of us to show those teams we are not to be taken lightly. Time will tell, but it’s going to be an awesome season. I’m looking forward to the challenge with a great group of kids.”
Cocke County was led by a pair of 79s by Alex Hutson and Isaac Buckner, while Wesley Lewis added an 84 and Tate Messer had an 86. Cherokee’s Kodey Popplewell shot a 78, while teammates Daniel Owen (80), Ty Cowan (86) and Nick Reeves (91) closed the scoring for the Chiefs.
Grainger was paced by Nate Yates with an 82, while Dylan Collins added an 88, Blake Murphy had a 96 and Jacob Bunch ended up with a 97 on the day.
Morristown West was led by Andrew Fowler with a score of 88, while freshman John Foreback tacked on a 93, Ryan Ramsey added a 95 and Drew Dickenson finished at 119.
“We obviously have a long way to go, but we have a lot of matches to get better,” Trojans coach Ralph Noble said. “We didn’t play as well today as we would have liked, but we have a fairly young team and got our second best score from a freshman. I also thought Andrew Fowler did a solid job today posting our lowest score.”
Science Hill’s Jack Rhea and Sevier County’s Spencer Cross tied for medalist honors after 18 holes with matching rounds of three-over par 75. The tie brought on a playoff for the individual championship, with Cross winning the playoff on the par-3 second hole by recording a par on the hole.
-By Matt Daniels, Tribune Sports Editor