Monday, August 15, 2005

ATH: Tivy Golf

Yup, this is the team Phillips has been bragging about . . .

Hardin steps up to title
By Doug Mitchell, The Daily Times, Published August 13, 2005

A summer of hard work on his game paid a nice dividend for Riverhill junior golfer Preston Hardin Friday, who shot a 1-over-par 71 on the 6,453-yard Scott Schreiner blue tees layout to win the 2005 Kerrville City Junior Championship.

Hardin, long considered a golf prodigy, was playing in the top boys division, for players ages 15-18, for the third straight year. The 14-year-old claimed title by defeating defending champion Tyler O’Dell (73), and 2003 champion Corey Munns, who carded a 74.

“I’ve been working a whole lot, 6-7 hours a day, and (Riverhill head professional) Mark Caldwell has been helping with my game,” said Hardin, who has been competing on the Texas Legends Tour junior series this summer. “I haven’t won a tournament this summer, have been close, so it’s nice to win one.”

The decisive hole turned out to be the par-5 17th, as O’Dell and Hardin, leading by a shot, both had 117-yard approach shots over the water, only to see defending champion O’Dell air-mail the green en route to a bogey.

“It was hitting low shots,” Hardin said of playing in windy conditions. “You didn’t want to get stuck up in the wind.”

Like the previous two years, the jury remains out on if the city junior champion will benefit the Tivy boys team in the upcoming season. Munns and O’Dell both moved with their families after winning the event, and Hardin, a freshman-to-be, is considering relocating to Austin with his mother or staying in Kerrville with his grandparents.

O’Dell, however, has returned to Kerrville and enrolled at Tivy for the new school year. With sophomore Caleb Tucker taking fourth at 76 Friday, a decision by Hardin to stay, coupled with O’Dell, Tucker and Friday players Chris Hendrickson and Phillips Wagner, could give Tivy regional berth hopes for 2006.

“It’s a heck of an accomplishment for a freshman,” said Schreiner assistant pro Bobby Morriss, the junior program director, of Hardin’s victory. “Everyone around the golf scene knows Preston can play, and it’s nice to see him come out and perform against the big boys.

“The kids 13-14 are doing things we never thought of when we were that age,” Morriss added. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two of these guys out here today playing on Sunday (in pro golf) in the future.”

Bobby Schreiner won the boys 13-14 division with a 45 in the nine-hole format, two shots ahead of runners-up Mark Reeves and Tivy freshman Peter Cuellar. Reeves defeated Cuellar in a putting playoff to claim the second-place trophy.

The boys 11-12 division saw the end of an impressive run in the tournament, as Stevie Jones defeated Conor Baehre in a three-hole putt-off for the title after both tied at 41. Baehre, another Riverhill product, came into play Friday seeking his sixth-straight age-group championship in the event.

Colton Tucker was third in the flight, just two shots back, in a division that was the largest in the event with 14 competitors..

Kyle Holmes’ 47 gave him a nine-shot victory in the boys 9-10 division, while Colin Uecker had a 46 to take the six-hole boys 8-and-under title. Christina Moore carded a 46 to claim the girls 13-and-up title, and Kelly Bill was the girls 12-and-under champion with her 54 total.


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