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May 1, 2014

PREP GOLF: Broncos, Raiders qualify for sub-state in 3A, Aggies follow suit in 4A

CULLMAN — The boys on Holly Pond’s golf team picked the perfect time to turn in one of their most impressive performances of the spring. Good Hope’s Eli Marty didn’t feel quite as crisp but still managed, per usual, to be better than the rest.

The Broncos and Raiders both advanced to sub-state, and Marty roped in low medalist honors, highlighting the local contenders at the Class 3A, Section 3 Tournament Thursday at Cullman Golf Course.

Holly Pond, winners of the last two county championships, received exceptional scores from a trio of seniors — Colby Adams (77), Hunter Walker (79), Braden Walker (80) — and one freshman, Dawson Foust (88), to snag second as a team. The Broncos (324) edged Good Hope by a single stroke.

The county rivals will clash again next Monday at Silver Lakes Golf Course in Glencoe. The top-three teams, as well as the top-three individuals from squads that don’t qualify, at each sub-state event will move on to the state tourney, which is set for May 12-13 in Prattville.

Adams tied for fourth at last year’s season-ender.

“We’re tickled to get to advance to the next level,” Holly Pond coach Mark Cornelius said. “We played as well as we could play, really. All seniors came through with great scores. And my freshman, Dawson, had his best round of the year in competition.”

Marty, a Wallace State signee, took his first step toward redemption by firing a 71. The three-time county champ is coming off a runner-up result at the 2013 state tourney. He’s finished in the top-five ever since his eighth-grade season.

Thursday’s round went OK, but Marty figures he’ll need to be even sharper over the next couple of weeks to be in the hunt for the big prize in Prattville.

“One under, that’s fine with me. I’ll take that any day, of course,” the sweet-swinging lefty said. “But I just left some shots out there.”

Marty had little to lament concerning his team’s third-place showing. Cole Pearson carded a 77, Alex Cofer chipped in an 85 and Josh Cofer shot a 92.

Good Hope is seeking its first state berth since snapping a 16-year streak last spring.

“I liked our chances today of qualifying for sub-state,” Marty said. “I think if we can get some of our guys to shoot a little bit lower, we could actually maybe pull through out of sub-state also.”

West Point’s Lindsey Rodgers, the county’s reigning low medalist on the girls side, claimed her sub-state spot by tying  for third with an 84 in the 1A-5A, Section 2 competition.

Cullman’s ladies are also moving on after taking third as a team. Bailee Ponder put up a 91, Taylor Ruehl was close behind with a 92 and Bradi Ruehl stayed in double figures with a 98. Savannah Adams shot a 109.

Rodgers will duke it out with the Lady Bearcats and other sub-state qualifiers next Monday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

Fairview’s girls came a mere stroke short of advancing. The Lady Aggies were without their No. 2 golfer, Maci Yeager, who suffered a shoulder injury “awhile back,” according to coach Kurt Knight.

Abbi Yeager had the Purple and Gold’s lowest score with an 88. Dalys Mullican dished out a 100, and Aladie Howse shot a 106.

Fairview’s boys fared much better across town at Chesley Oaks, clinching second at the 4A, Section 3 Tournament.

Trey Hanvey tore up the local course for a 75, adding low medalist runner-up status to his already extensive resume. James Arnold contributed a 90, and Seth Lancaster and Hunter Whitehead both churned out 96s.

Fairview will make the short trek north to Decatur early next week.

“We grinded through our round to finish runner-up,” Knight said. “We will work as hard as possible to get read for Point Mallard on Monday. We have a great group of guys, and I’m proud of the year we have had so far, but we definitely have more to do.”  



% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.

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