Wall repeats as champion in playoff-highlighted event

July 12, 2014

KEEPING THE TITLE: Granbury High golfer Zach Wall retained the championship of the HCN/First Tee Junior Golf Tournament Wednesday.

TAKING A BIG SWING: Nathaniel Robinson tees off during actiion in the Hood County News/First Tee of Granbury Junior Golf Tournament Wednesday at Granbury Country Club. The tournament, the second in a series of three this summer, featured players ages 18 and below. After the third tournament a Hood County boys and girls champion will be named based on scoring average from players who have participated in at least two tournaments. The third tournament is Aug. 13, also at Granbury Country Club.

PARISH TEES OFF: Katy Parish tees off on a par-3 hole in the HCN/First Tee Junior Golf Tournament at Granbury Country Club Wednesday.

Participants in the second Hood County News/First Tee Junior Golf Tournament of the summer were having so much fun Wednesday, they just kept playing.

And playing, and playing…

In four of the five age divisions, a playoff was required to determine medal recipients.

The overall champion, however, did not need a playoff. Granbury High golfer Zach Wall shot an 87 for his second victory in as many tournaments.

Wall won by four strokes over Maverick Murphy and Jake Holbrook. And yes, they did have a playoff to determine the silver medal winner – which Murphy won by sinking his first putt on the practice green.

Wall also won the first HCN/First Tee Tournament in June, shooting an 82. Wednesday, he said the already challenging course was even tougher.

“It’s like trying to put the ball in a tea cup,” Wall said of the small greens that are synonymous with Granbury Country Club.

“You can hit the ball anywhere (on or near the fairway), and I like that, but if your irons are a little off, it’s real tough.”

Wall said he likes the course and the small greens, however, because he said it will help him when he’s playing larger greens during the school year for Granbury High.

“Because the greens are so small, it’s a good training course,” he said.

“Those small greens are going to make everyone who plays out here better.”

The only division in which a playoff was not required to hand out a medal was the Girls 11-18, won by Ally Johnson of Iredell with a 109. She said the heat, which hovered around 100 degrees in the second half of play, was a big challenge.

“It was really hot, I mean really,” she said. “We had to keep drinking water constantly.

“But I had a lot of fun. It’s definitely different from the course I usually play in Hico, but it helps to see different courses, especially going into high school.

“Those greens are especially challenging.”

The Boys 6-8 division needed a playoff to determine its champion. Shaw Hecker and Walker Johnson tied for first, each shooting 24 over four holes.

Hecker won the division for a second straight time, needing three extra holes.

“I felt a lot of pressure,” Hecker said with a smile. “I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to make this,’ that’s all I was thinking.

“I was nervous.”

Johnson admitted to being nervous also.

“I’ve never been in a playoff before, but this is a good tournament,” he said.

“I like getting to hit the ball as hard as I can, and just having fun.”

Thomas Whidden edged Brady Holt on the first playoff hole in the Boys 9-10 division after each finished a stroke behind champion Ty Holbrook.

“It’s a better way to determine a way to break the tie instead of a scorecard playoff,” he said of the playoff.

First Tee Granbury Director Mark Hackney said the numerous playoffs, while unusual, were good for the mission of his program – to teach all aspects of the game of golf to youngsters.

“We’re really emphasizing keeping the score right and turning it in right,” Hackney said.

“We want them to learn from that, and playoffs are a big part of keeping a scorecard correctly.

“But three in one tournament – that’s wild.”

Actually, there were four ties, but one playoff never took place. In the Boys 11-13 division, Micah Tucker and Kody Krause tied for second, but Krause left without playing off the tie, giving the silver medal to Tucker.

In one of the day’s biggest highlights, a tiny deer wandered onto the 18th fairway.

“Deer!” shouted 9-year-old Xander Bell.

“He was born on Hole No. 6,” said a nearby tournament official. “That’s one of our added attractions.”

The third and final tournament in the summer series will be Aug. 13, also at Granbury Country Club.

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Category: Sports