MUSCLE SHOALS —
Good Hope’s Eli Marty found himself in a very familiar position on the leaderboard after Monday’s first round of the state golf tournament in Muscle Shoals.
The Raider lefty carded a 3-under 69 on the Schoolmaster Course at Robert Trent Jones — The Shoals to take a two-shot lead over Trinity High’s Wagner Ashmore. Holly Pond’s Colby Adams is tied for eighth with two other golfers after an opening-round 75.
Good Hope coach David Hulsey was quite pleased with the way his junior golfer swung the sticks on the course.
“He had a good round today,” he said. “He struck the ball well. He’s pretty happy with how he played and being on top after one day.”
Marty’s round got off to an inauspicious start, as a wayward tee shot on his first hole led to a quick double bogey.
But as he as all season long, the sweet-swinging lefty responded with force, carding six birdies over his next 10 holes to get to 4-under par before bogeying two holes late to finish with a 69.
Just down the leaderboard is Adams, whose round was solid, if not spectacular. The junior recorded just one birdie to four bogeys but made a lot of clean pars.
“I really thought he played a great round on a difficult golf course,” Holly Pond coach Mark Cornelius said. “He burned a lot of edges on some birdie putts. Just very, very solid.”
Adams sits just six shots back entering Tuesday’s final round, and Cornelius believes he’s still got a shot to take home top honors when all is said and done.
“I told him to go out and play well,” the coach said. “If he plays tee to green like he did today and some putts start falling, you never know what can happen.”
Meanwhile, over in Class 5A, Cullman dished out a team score of 322 to take hold of third place after round one. The Bearcats trail Russellville (308) and St. Paul’s (312).
Black and Gold No. 4 Conner Stevens led the way with a 5-over round of 77, followed by Colby Sandlin (79). Lex Mattox and Sylas Elliott each carded an 83 to round out the foursome’s score. Garrett Crider finished his day with a 97.
In 1A-2A, Cold Springs struggled in opening-round action. The Eagles compiled a team total of 345, currently leaving them behind five teams entering today’s final round.
Layne Rice was solid for the Blue and White with a 4-over round of 76 to earn himself a tie for seventh. Michael Gilliland (84), Nick Speer (90) and Kevin Harris (96) were next in line for the Eagles, while Tristian Williams came in with a 101.
% The Times’ Jake Winfrey contributed to this report.