Braedon Wear is still at it.
After posting victories in The Wally, Tennessee Junior PGA and Scott Stallings Junior Championship tournaments over the summer, the Alcoa senior continued his run of tremendous golf, carding a program record-tying 7-under 29 at Egwani Farms Country Club on Monday to lead the Tornadoes to a victory over Heritage, Lenoir City and Webb.
“I had a phenomenal summer to my standards, and it was good to get back and play with the team and keep it going,” Wear told The Daily Times. “I had everything working today, and once I got on a roll, I was able to keep the momentum going.”
Wear birdied seven of nine holes and would have broken the record had it not been for a missed putt inside of six feet. The second-best round was a 37 by Webb’s Reece Britt and Lenoir City's Jeremy Ellis.
Bryce Barber (41), Connor Landers (44), Zach Borden (41) and Thai Love (46) backed Wear’s strong performance to give Alcoa a team score of 155 — the lowest score gets dropped — to edge Webb’s 160.
The Tornadoes finished runner-up in last season’s TSSAA Small Class State Championship, and the goal is to compete for the program’s fifth state title since 2010 despite the graduation of Gabe Hunter — a Utah State signee.
“The last six years, we’ve had phenomenal success, and it’s been hard to get back to the point where we really have to learn a lot,” Alcoa coach Rob Daugherty said. “Some of these kids haven’t played a lot of competitive golf, but they’ve done what we’ve asked them to and they’re getting better, so I’m happy about that.”
Heritage’s girls team shot 103 to knock off Webb and Lenoir City. Hannah Smelcer posted a 15-over 51 to go along with Emily Whitehead’s 52 several days after shooting in the 40s.
“I think it’s important (to win when you don’t play your best), but I was more pleased to see that they were bothered with themselves that they shot high scores,” Heritage assistant coach Holly Whitehead said. “They didn’t even want to talk about it, and that tells me that they’re competing against themselves and the golf course, and that’s really important.”
The Lady Mountaineers' biggest strength this season is their depth, evidenced by Monday’s win despite their No. 1 player Emily Smelcer having to withdraw due to injury.
“Emily and Sarah Whitehead, who are No. 3 and No. 4, have both stepped it up,” Whitehead said. “They’re sisters and they are kind of pushing each other, and Emily and Hannah Smelcer, who are also sisters and play in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, are driving each other.
“It’s really helped drive all of our golfers to want to play more and be at the golf course every day — the things they have to do to get better.”
The Heritage boys team shot 183 behind a Reid Woods’ 44, Haden Fagan’s 49, Andrew Hoffman’s, Jet Morrell’s 49 and Caden Grant’s 49.
“We struggled today, but we don’t have much varsity experience,” Heritage coach Scott Williams said. “We’re hoping to improve as the year goes on. We’re trying to get our score down below 170, and hopefully we can. It helps that Andrew Hoffman is playing well right now.”