By AMBLE SMOKER
ONE FEATHER STAFF
SAPPHIRE – Cherokee High School junior, Christian Ensley, was named All-Conference at the conclusion of the Smoky Mountain Conference tournament at the Sapphire National Golf Club on Monday, April 27. Ensley carded an 88 in the final round of the 2-day, 36-hole tournament to finish with a 168 and took fifth place in the individual category.
“Christian has come a long way since last year,” said Braves Head Coach Andrew Maney. “He’s improved his game by about 10 or 15 strokes.”
Ensley commented, “The first day, I played really good and then played alright today. I feel like I’ve improved since last year.”
Heading into the final round on Monday, a mere eight strokes separated Cherokee, Hayesville, and Robbinsville for the coveted fourth place finish and a berth into the 1A West Regional golf tournament at the Meadowbrook Golf Course in Rutherfordton.
However, a solid performance from Josh Taylor and Steven Straughan helped catapult the Braves ahead of the Yellow Jackets and hold off a hard-charging Black Knights team. Collectively, the Braves shot a 393 on Monday to bring their two-day total to 783 while the Black Knights shot a 397 to card a 791 and the Yellow Jackets shot a 408 to card 794.
Ensley’s 88 led the Braves, along with Steven Straughan (98), Josh Taylor (102), Holden Straughan (105), Dustin Johnson (105), and John Lossiah (110).
After the match, Braves player Steven Straughan commented, “I hit the ball pretty clean. It was just getting the ups and downs to pars. We’ve overcome a lot, considering where we started. Being consistent is what wins these things and I’m glad we were able to get it done and advance to Regionals.”
Coach Maney added, “We played better today than we did the first day, overall. It has been a good season. We’ve achieved some goals as a young team I didn’t know if we could get to or not, but we did. I’m happy for these guys. Steven Straughan was a strong point for us. John Lossiah did a great job, and I was happy for Holden Straughan to come in as a freshman and play as well as he did. Josh Taylor was another guy who contributed a lot to our team.”
To view or purchase photos from this match, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/SPORTS/GOLF/Braves-2015/SMC-Championship-at-Sapphire/