Taylor competes in state tourney

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By Chris Cannon

In old days, ships were warned about the dangers of entering The Bermuda Triangle.

That same warning should go out for golfers entering the Barrens Triangle.

The seven-hole “natural triangle” at the Willowbrook Golf Course in Manchester became one of the hardest stretches for the high school competitors.

Campbell County’s Lindsay Taylor was in that mix. Withing that stretch, Taylor found an eight-over-par performance.

“Started out kind of rough,” head coach Jeremy Cox said. “Had a couple of big numbers because of the driver, and she was a little bit nervous. Take that off, and she’s probably in the top 15.”

Shooting a 90 on the par 72 course, Taylor now sits in 32nd place with numerous ties ahead of her. Take away those six shots for two triple bogeys, and Taylor is in the mix, tied at twenty-first.

Samantha Gotcher of Clarksville led the pack after day one, shooting a one-under-par 71. Abbie Gregory of Beech and Teleri Hughes of Farragut tied for second as both finished with one-over-par performances.

Nerves got the best of the junior going into the round on such a big stage. Her first drive of the day found the pond, forcing her to take a drop and finish the hole at triple bogey. Taylor admitted the drive was because of nerves.

“It was a beauty,” she said with a laugh. “I was nervous. I was shaking so hard. I was trying to think that I wouldn’t be nervous, but whenever I stepped up to that first tee and heard my name, I was shaking so hard. I just wanted to make everybody proud. I’ve got to think of myself first. I didn’t do too good, but I’ll do better tomorrow (Wednesday).”

The second day of the tournament was yesterday, but results weren’t in before press time. Next week’s issue will have coverage of where Taylor placed in the tournament.

“I could tell she was nervous,” Cox said. “I’m still proud of her, no matter what she did, of course. I expected a slow start even though we did everything we could to calm her down before, just because it’s her first big tournament she’s ever played in. Other than that, she played a lot better on the backside. Hopefully, we can gain from that going into (Wednesday).”

Following her triple on hole 10, Taylor pulled a par on 11, leaving her chip shot 2-feet from the cup. The put was made on the par three.

A bogey on hole 12 was again promptly followed by a par on the par four 13. After her drive ran up the back of a tree, it came to rest in heavy mulch. Her punch shot fell just short of the green, before the chip shot didn’t release off a hill. Taylor hit the 15-foot putt from the fringe to make par.

“That (hole 13) was a career hole,” Taylor said. “My short game was pretty good today. I gave away a couple of shots. I’m going to work on my long game and hope that my short game stays the same. I should do better (Wednesday).”

Shooting 11-over on the front nine, Taylor saw a much improved 7-over on the back. To her coach, frustration simply got the best of her on the back part of the course.

“Frustration set in on her today,” Cox said. “That’s huge for her. When your emotions get the best of you, you’re not going to perform as well as you could. You’ve got to be out there loose.”

However, the junior has to be proud. She accomplished her goal of making it to state, which can only allow her to go up from here.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Cox said. “That was our main goal to get here this year. This experience on this level is what she needs in order to further herself as a golfer.”

To Taylor, it’s a chance to set the bar higher for next season.

“I achieved my goals of making it here this year,” she said. “Next year, I want to make All-State (a top 15 performance).”