St. James’ Wells Hooper signed with UAB before the season, and lived up to the hype.
He finished seventh in the state tournament, helping the Trojans win the Class 4A state championship. Hooper led the Trojans all season, with wins at the Blue-Gray Invitational and section tournament. He also finished second at the substate tournament, third at the CCC Championship and fifth at the Bob Jones Invitational.
The two-time All-Metro Golfer of the Year averaged 73.6 for the season.
How does it feel to be named All-Metro Golfer of the Year for the second straight year?
“It’s a pretty good honor to be selected two years in a row. We all had a strong goal at the beginning of this year: that everybody would play good golf and hopefully at the end of the year we’ll win a ring. And that’s what we did. I just tried to do everything I could to help the team out and ended up playing some good golf throughout the season.”
How does it feel to finish your career on top?
“It feels good because it’s been a while since I’ve been on a state championship team. Between watching while I was sitting out (as a sophomore) and watching them miss it by five or six strokes, and then being the top team going into state last year and missing it, it was really tough. We finished with a bang. We shot a school record the last day. It was a very special way to end my high school career.”
Your first round at state, you were off your game. What happened?
“I started off with two double bogeys in the first five holes. I normally play the course really relaxed, but I was 4 over through five holes and kind of started forcing it. I wasn’t playing like I normally do, and that brought a couple of bogeys throughout the round. I just barely broke 80.
“That was really nerve-wracking, because I thought my poor play would put us behind like last year. But we ended up having a three-shot lead. I’m glad my teammates had my back that day. We came back and all played great the next day, so it all fell in place and worked out.”
What are you looking forward to about playing for UAB?
“The program’s on the rise, every year they’re getting better and better. I know when I get up there I’m going to be around some great players, a great coach and I’m looking forward to seeing how that program’s going to improve my game next year.”
Who is your favorite Disney character?
“I’ve always loved ‘Finding Nemo.’ So Dory, because she’s a nutcase and funny.”
If a Hollywood director wanted to make a movie of your life, who’s playing you?
“I’d say Channing Tatum. All the girls love Channing Tatum, so I’d like them to think of me like that.”
What would you buy for yourself if you won the lottery?
“I’d buy a big party yacht that I could fish on and have huge parties on.”
ALL-METRO GOLF TEAM
Player of the Year: Wells Hooper, St. James
Wells Hooper, Senior, St. James
Played No. 1 for the Class 4A state champion Trojans. Won the Blue-Gray Invitational and section tournament. Finished seventh in the state tournament. Finished second in the substate tournament. Finished third in the CCC Championship and fifth at the Bob Jones Invitational. Averaged 73.6 for the season. Two-time All-Metro Player of the Year. UAB signee.
Hannah Sager, Senior, Alabama Christian
Won the Class 4A-5A state championship with a 4-over 148 two-day score. Broke her own tournament and course record with a 66 at the Greater Montgomery Championship. Finished second in the sectional tournament and Sylacauga Aggie Invitational. Finished eighth at the Hoover Invitational. Two-time All-Metro. Faulkner signee.
Drew Smith, eighth-grader, Catholic
Won the Enterprise Invitational. Two-time medalist in matches. Averaged 76.5 for the season.
Wagner Ashmore, Senior, Trinity
Won the Greater Montgomery Open with a 69. Six-year starter on varsity and team captain. Three-time All-Metro.
Walker Carr, Senior, St. James
Finished second with a 2-under 140 two-day score to finish second at the Class 4A state tournament and help the Trojans to a state championship. Shot a career-best 69 in the first round. Finished third at the sectional tournament. Three-time All-Metro.
Catholic: Zach Jones;Elmore County:Ashton Maddaloni; Montgomery Academy:Jack Crompton;St. James:Walker Wise; Trinity:Griffin Slater, Pat Williams, Sophie Burks; Wetumpka:Bailee Schone.
— Team compiled by Ethan Bernal in consultation with area coaches. The All-Metro area covers Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties.