In the first high school tournament of the year in any sport, the University School of Jackson golf teams proved they were ready for a strong season ahead.
The Bruins and Lady Bruins won the team titles in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Invitational at the Jackson Country Club on Monday.
The USJ boys shot a 301 as a team to beat closest competitor South Fulton (317) by 16 strokes. Milan finished third with a 326.
The USJ girls shot a 173 to beat Milan (175) by two strokes and Trinity Christian Academy (176) by three strokes.
USJ senior Chase Harris, a South Alabama commit, led the boys’ team with an even-par 72 to earn low medalist.
“This was a good start to the season,” Harris said. “There were a lot of good players here. I was 2-over at one point and got a little scared because my teammate Matthew [Teel] was lighting it up, but I settled down.”
Harris had three birdies on the day at the par-5 No. 5, par-4 No. 7 and par-5 No. 15.
The even-par 72 was added to Ryan Davis and Matthew Teel’s 4-over 76s and Ray Howard’s 5-over 77 for the team score.
“This win was big for the team also,” Harris said. “Every win is a step forward toward the biggest tournament – the state tournament.”
The shot of the day had to go to USJ’s Teel, who hit a hole-in-one on the par-3 No. 9 for an eagle.
“I knew it was on the pin the whole way,” Teel said. “I didn’t know it had gone in until a lady next to the green with her husband yelled, ‘Oh my gosh, it went in.'”
Teel also had birdies on the par-4 No. 7 and par-5 No. 17 to go along with his eagle to keep his score low.
“This was a good start for our team,” Teel said. “It is a little bit intimidating to other teams when the top four players are all coming in under 80.”
On the girls’ side, Milan senior Arianna Clemmer shot a 2-over 75 to claim low medalist. She birdied the par-3 No. 3 and par-4 No. 14.
“It is a big honor to win this as an individual. I was glad to help carry my team,” Clemmer said.
According to Clemmer, her short game is what carried her throughout the day and for good reason.
“I have worked on my short game all summer, and it is finally kicking in,” she said.
The combination of sophomore Frances New and freshman Jill Yates led the Lady Bruins to the team title.
Yates shot an 86 to go along with New’s 87 for the team score.
“I wanted to come in and win this so badly,” New said. “I was nervous here in the clubhouse waiting.
“I think I played bad to shoot as OK as I did. I think I put too much pressure on myself.”
Yates was happy with the way she played in her first tournament as a high school player.
“I had some good holes and some bad ones,” Yates said. “I had to stay focused and take it shot by shot. I was a little nervous, but it turned out all right.”
Michael Odom, 425-9754