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Champs tee off in state tourney

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

(Photo)
Lucas Dunnavant was Mr. Consistency on the greens during last week's region tournament. He is expected to be a major contributor for the Champs in the state tournament.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
MANCHESTER -- For the second year in a row, the Cascade Champions are taking aim at the state's best golfers. On Tuesday morning, the Champions began their trek for state gold at WillowBrook Golf Course.

While the forecast calls for colder temperatures on Tuesday morning, the Champs are no strangers to playing in adverse conditions.

During the district championship two weeks ago, Cascade had to endure chilly temperatures and last week at the region championships, the course was doused in soggy, cold rains.

Cool weather

On Tuesday, the temperatures were forecasted to be colder, but coach Chad Spencer feels that his team can handle the elements.

During their practice round on Monday, Cascade got one final tune up before diving into the competition.

"It started out cold and drizzling rain, but the kids struck the ball pretty well. They're in good spirits.

"We've got a lot of experience playing in rainy and chilly weather. Last year we played in the region tournament in the rain and it was cold and rainy again this year in the region tournament.

"If we can get started, we've got to realize the ball isn't going to travel as far with the fairways being wet and the cold air. We're going to have to take all that into consideration," Spencer said.

Experience

Last year, the Champs made school history with their first-ever team appearance in the TSSAA tournament. With that added year's experience, Spencer feels his team is not only going to be able to compete at the high level they've played since the beginning of the season, but they will be able to do it with the confidence needed to make a run at the title.

(Photo)
Tanner Burks shot an 87 during the region tournament at Lawrenceburge. Burks is expected to card a low score in the state tournament.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
"Last year during their practice round they were a little nervous. This year all of them have the experience of being there before and I feel like that pays big dividends," he said.

In addition to the experience of playing in last year's state tournament, the Champs have played in several other tournaments and done the work needed to compete with the state's best.

"My kids have played in so many tournaments since the state tournament last year, they're used to walking 18-hole rounds and they're in pretty good shape when it comes to that. I think all the practice and preparations we've done as a team will really help us," he said.

Aiming at win

With the work and preparations in the books, Cascade teed off this morning with the set goal of making a run at winning the two-day event.

"Our goal is to try and shoot 590 as a team, which I think will be a great score. Anywhere from 590 to 600 could win it.

"I told the kids today that every stroke counts. The hardest thing is the grind in these state tournaments. You can't get in a hurry. You have to find your comfort zone and stay in that as long as you can," he said.

In addition to last year's first-time jitters, the Champs started on a tough hole. This year, Cascade gets the start at hole No. 1, which gives them a prime opportunity to start strong.

Good starting point

"This year we tee off on the No. 1 tee at Willowbrook. Last year they teed off on hole 10 and you couldn't miss it left or you went into the water. I feel like that tee box will help the kids confidence early as well," he said.

Cascade began their trek this morning and will complete their run at the state title tomorrow.


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