Walters State signs Jellico High School golfer Cody Byrge

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By Dwane Wilder

 Jellico High School senior Cody Byrge signed scholarship papers Friday to continue his golf career at Walters State Community College (WSCC).

Byrge posted a top 10 district individual finish for the Blue Devils in their very first year of competition.

“We’re proud of Cody and all of his accomplishments,” said Danny Oakes, athletic director at Jellico High School.

“It’s something special for him to get a scholarship in the first year of our golf program.”

An honors student with a 3.7 GPA, Byrge plans to pursue a career in the medical field. 

“I’ve wanted to play college golf as long as I can remember,” said Byrge.

“I started playing competitively in the sixth grade, but I actually began playing a little before that.”

If he does well in the junior college ranks, Byrge hopes to continue playing golf after he earns an associate degree at Walters State. His dad said Cody turned down offers from smaller colleges like Campbellsville, Tennessee Wesleyan and Mars Hill for the chance to play on a bigger stage after some prep work at Walters State.

“I’m hoping for (NCAA) Division I,” said Byrge.

Longtime WSCC coach Bill Gardner has a history of producing big-time talent. In his 39 years at the Morristown-based campus, the Senators have traditionally played in tournaments against much larger 4-year schools.

“We play the best competition we can find,” said Gardner.

“Cody has great size and also some length in his game. His swing is fundamentally sound, so we were impressed with that. 

“He’s also a good person and a good student, and those are the first things we look at when we go recruit a player. I really think he will do well at Walters State.

“Hopefully this will be a stepping stone for him to wind up on the Division I level.”