Smith fin­ishes Top 10 at Future Mas­ters

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

Ris­ing LaFayette High School se­nior golfer Gage Smith is hav­ing him­self one mem­o­rable sum­mer on the links.

Smith, who placed eighth in­di­vid­u­ally at the Class AAAA state tour­na­ment in Colum­bus in May with an even-par round of 71 – help­ing the Ram­blers to a fourth­place fin­ish – shot backto-back rounds of 70 at the 81st Chicken Din­ner Tour­na­ment at the LaFayette Golf Course on June 10-11 to place fifth over­all in the cham­pi­onships flight.

One day later, he won the Boys’ 16-18 year-old divi­sion of the Chat­tanooga District Golf As­so­ci­a­tion Ju­nior Tour event at Wind­stone in Ring­gold with a daz­zling 7-un­der par 65 and fol­lowed up seven days later by shoot­ing a 3-un­der 69 to win the CDGA Ju­nior Tour event at Moc­casin Bend.

This past week­end, he headed south to Dothan, Alabama to com­pete in the pres­ti­gious Future Mas­ters tour­na­ment and tied for eighth over­all in the Boys’ 15-18 divi­sion, which in­cluded nearly 230 other golfers from all over the United States and Canada.

He opened with a 3-over par 73 on Thurs­day, but shot a 4-un­der 66 on Fri­day to make the cut. He closed out with a 1-over 71 on Satur­day to fin­ish at even par (210). The 66 tied for the low­est round of the tour­na­ment.

Smith was eight shots back of 16-yearold Thomas Pon­der of Dothan, who fin­ished at 8-un­der with scores of 68, 67 and 67 (202) at the Dothan Coun­try Club. Another 16-year-old, Thomas Ho­gan of St. Si­mons Is­land, Ga., was sec­ond, two shots back (204).

Ris­ing Gor­don Lee ju­nior Tucker Wind­ham also com­peted in the tour­na­ment. Wind­ham shot on 82 on Thurs­day, but re­bounded with a solid round of 70 on Day 2. How­ever, Wind­ham ended up miss­ing the cut as only the top 108 ad­vanced to Satur­day’s fi­nal round.

The Future Mas­ters be­gan in 1950. Among those who have com­peted in the tour­na­ment over the years are past U.S. Open cham­pi­ons Hu­bert Green and Jerry Pate, Mas­ters win­ner Larry Mize, PGA Cham­pi­onship win­ners Bob Tway, Mark Brooks and Shawn Micheel and Bri­tish Open win­ner Ben Cur­tis.

Other golf­ing greats who have played in the event in­clude LaFayette na­tive Andy Bean, Bruce Leitzke, Hal Sut­ton, Chip Beck, Cur­tis Strange, David Du­val, Stewart Cink and Charles How­ell III.

Gage Smith

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