By AMBLE SMOKER
ONE FEATHER STAFF
SAPPHIRE – The second round of the 36-hole Smoky Mountain Conference Tournament was played at the par-70, 6,009yd Sapphire National Golf Club in Sapphire on Monday, April 28. Tagan Crowe and Christian Ensley led the charge for the Cherokee Braves to hold off the challenging Robbinsville Black Knights en route to a NCHSAA Regionals berth.
The team finished fifth with 755 behind first place Hayesville 692, second place Swain 693, third place Murphy 722, and fourth place Highlands 747. The remainder of the field included sixth place Robbinsville 805 and seventh place Blue Ridge 886. Hiwassee Dam, Rosman, and Nantahala also competed but did not qualify due to a lack of players. As one of the top five teams, the Braves advance to the NCHSAA Regional tournament at Linville Golf Club in Linville on Tuesday, May 6.
“I am really proud of our guys for making Regionals this year as a team,” said CHS golf coach Andrew Maney at the conclusion of the tournament. “We had the same lead on Robbinsville last year after the first day and we lost it on the second day to knock ourselves out of regionals. This year was a different story and we put them away on the second day.”
Mars Hill recruit Tagan Crowe shot a 174 at the 36-hole event, finishing off his illustrious Smoky Mountain Conference play fifth overall in the individual category at the tournament. After the match, he was awarded All-Conference for the second consecutive year.
“Tagan played well and earned All-Conference for the second straight year,” said coach Maney. “His game wasn’t where it has been this season but he is a mentally strong kid, which helped him finish in the top five. He’ll get back to the grind and be ready for Regionals next Tuesday.”
Christian Ensley, a 2014 All-Conference Honorable Mention, tied for 10th place in the individual category by carding a 185 on the two day event. In regards to Ensley after the match, Coach Maney said, “Christian earned Honorable Mention All-Conference. This was well deserved honor for Christian as he has worked on his game this season.”
Logan Teesateskie was able to get back to form and rebounded strong from Thursday’s performance to card a 201. Steven Straughan finished with a solid 206 to help seal the bid for the Regionals tournament. Senior Derrick Ledford, finishing off the last nine holes with a 43, shot a 208 overall. John Lossiah finished the tournament with a 243.
The Braves wrapped up the first round of the SMC tournament in a bit of a slump by finishing fifth with a slight edge over Robbinsville on April 24. However, the team was eager to hit the links on Monday when they traveled back to Sapphire National Golf Club where they placed their lowest scores of the season less than a week prior.
“We didn’t play as well as we had hoped to. However, it’s the first day and we still had Monday to go,” said Coach Andrew Maney after the first round at Chatuge Shores.
The first round of the SMC Tournament included: Swain 341, Hayesville 358, Murphy 362, Highlands 375, Cherokee 385, Robbinsville 396, and Blue Ridge 434. The top four individuals to card on the team’s cumulative total were Tagan Crowe, Christian Ensley, Logan Teesateskie, and Steven Straughan.
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