By Matt Hill
After just barely qualifying in the first flight for Sunday’s final round of the Elizabethton Golf Course’s two-man spring scramble, the father-son team of Jeff and Lucas Andrews had a Sunday they will always remember.
The Hampton residents and avid golfers passed more accomplished golfers and a PGA Pro en route to splitting the championship and first-place money with Rick Rogers and Ronnie Breedan.
Both teams shot 125 for the weekend and 64 on Sunday, a day that saw scores go much higher.
Jeff Anderson and Mark Dugger started the day with a lead after tallying a 59 on Saturday, but had a very difficult final round and shot 68.
Chris Guy and PGA Professional Adam Shanks also found Sunday to be tough, as they followed up their Sunday round of 60 with a 67.
The Andrews-Andrews team and Rogers-Breedan team had as good of a round as they could dealing with the wind and tough course conditions.
For Jeff Andrews, it was a surprise to him that he and his son were able to be in contention playing against such great players.
“I had no idea we could beat these guys,” Jeff Andrews said. “Those two we played with hit the ball purest I have seen anybody hit and long, and then playing against the pro and the legendary Chris Guy, I really wasn’t expecting it.
“We played very loose, but the course played a lot tougher today. They brought the tees back and with me being 50 now I get to hit from the white tees. Lucas played the blues. They had the tees back and the pins back on almost all the greens. It was a lot tougher today.
For Rogers, he too was a little surprised they were able to pull this win off.
“It was a lot of luck,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve ever played a tournament together. It may not be the last.”
Jeff Andrews also was elated to share this moment with his son Lucas, a former state tournament qualifying golfer at Hampton High School.
“It’s very rewarding to play with him because we have a great relationship and we can come out here and cut up, and we can come out here and get serious, too,” Jeff said. “I really enjoyed playing with my son.”
Saturday is the Bulldog Classic, a fundraiser for the Hampton High School Basketball program where Lucas is an assistant coach to Ned Smith.
Lucas and Jeff will be on different teams in that event, and there will be bragging rights at stake.
“I’m going to be playing with my father and Lucas is going to be playing on another team,” Jeff said. “I don’t know who is going to win, but as long as I beat Lucas next weekend that’s all that matters.”
MILLIGAN WOMEN HAVE SPECIAL PLACE IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Milligan College has a long history of athletic excellence, but I can’t think of anything more unreal than what the Lady Buffs golf team has accomplished the last couple of years.
It is simply remarkable to think in two years this program went from being non-existent to being in the NAIA National Championships.
I was able to talk to a few of the golfers this past week while I was covering the event in Greeneville at the Link Hills Country Club, and it’s obvious they are excited for the recognition.
They appreciated me making the one-hour drive, and it did make them feel like they were important.
They are important and they’re important to the athletic prestige of the school. Most of all, they did it the right way.
Coach Wallingford recruited American players and one of the young ladies on the team was from Morristown. Wallingford didn’t take the easy route, but instead quickly built one of the best programs in the country by selling kids on what Milligan has to offer.
Wallingford was also part of three NAIA Tournament teams as head coach of the men’s basketball program, but to me this was his finest moment.
To start from scratch and go to the national tournament in two years is simply remarkable. You have to also give credit to the ladies because they bought into this program and decided to become Lady Buffs.
You also have to give props to people like Milligan College President Bill Greer for providing such an outstanding learning environment for young men and women from all over the country and for believing in this women’s golf team.
It was a total group effort, and it turned out to be a historic week for this outstanding college.
NOLICHUCKEY VIEW RECAP
The first tournament of the Food City Tri-Cities Amateur Tour took place this weekend in Greeneville at the Nolichucky View Invitational.
Sasha Catron easily won the championship flight with rounds 66 and 69 for a score of 135. Carlson and Dakota Norton tied for second at 139. The rest of the championship flight included Justin Harvey, Jimmy Whittenburg, Tory Davis, Leif Ratliff and Luke Fullen.
Ronnie Wadell was the seniors winner.
The Amateur Tour heads to the Johnson City Country Club June 2 and 3 for the Tillinghast Invitational.
TPGA JUNIOR SERIES UPDATE
Mountain City’s Nathan Timbs competed in the 13-15 age group of Tri-Cities Junior Series Tournament at the Country Club of Bristol a week and a half ago.
Timbs is a rising sophomore at Johnson County High School. He is coached at JCHS by longtime coach Steve Arnold.
Happy Valley’s Cameron Dugger and Joseph Matherly are also competing in the series as well in some events.
FOWLER GOOD FOR GOLF
The game of golf needs good role models that kids look up to. I think we have found one in Rickie Fowler.
Fowler was in contention at last week’s huge Players Championship and won a big tournament in Charlotte two weeks ago.
Fowler has made golf cool among kids. He does dress a little crazy and he has a mustache, but the kids want to be like him like him and dress like him.
He may look like a renegade, but he is a class act.
Fowler is morally grounded and spiritually grounded. When he won at Quail Hollow, he did thank the man upstairs in his words.
I know some adults and traditional golf fans don’t like the dress, but if it gets young kids interested in this game, I’m all for it.
Then after kids are into golf, their parents can see what an awesome young man he is and role model for their children.
Matt Hill is the golf and tennis columnist for the Elizabethton Star. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org