GALLATIN – In their final summer tournament before the senior season of their college careers begins next week, Jenna Burris and Hanley Long made a statement that Middle Tennessee State University will be a force in 2017-18.
The teammates also made a lot of Tennessee Golf Association history in the process.
Burris and Long rewrote the record book for the Tennessee Women’s Four-Ball Championship as they claimed their third title in the last four years. The duo fired a two-day total of 20-under, 124 at Foxland Harbor Golf and Country Club to finish ahead of MTSU teammates Caroline and Catherine Caudill by two strokes.
Burris and Long are the first players to win the tournament three times as the same team.
“Winning this tournament for our third time is awesome,” said Long, a Clarksville native who played prep golf at Rossview High School. “I think it says a lot about the teamwork connection that Jenna and I have.”
“This tournament is always fun. All of the players are welcoming and fun. The laid back environment is just so different than what we’re used to when the school season starts. You don’t necessarily have to play your best golf at this tournament, so it’s always a good tourney to get a feel for how our game is looking going into the season.”
Another MTSU player, sophomore Savannah Quick (Manchester), finished third in the tournament, playing with her sister Ashley Gilliam.
With five Blue Raiders comprising the top three teams, Burris is excited about what the future holds as MTSU attempts to win its first Conference USA championship since 2016.
“This shows how much potential we have for the upcoming college season,” said Burris, who is a Manchester native and played her prep golf at St. Andrew’s. “Not just us, but our teammates as well!”
Burris and Long entered the final day of the championship with a commanding five-stroke lead after blazing the course with a tournament record round of 12-under, 60 on Tuesday.
The duo broke several records in the process of winning the title, including: lowest 36-hole score (124); lowest 36-hold score to par (-20), lowest round and lowest opening round.
The Caudill sisters (Clarksville) broke the tournament record for lowest final round score as they carded an 11-under, 61 on Wednesday. After a par on their opening hole, they went birdie-eagle-birdie to pull within two of Burris and Long early on.
However, the Caudills parred four of their next five holes to slow their momentum and allow Burris and Long to increase their cushion to four strokes.
Starting with No. 5, the eventual champions birdied seven of the next nine holes. They bogeyed No. 14 for the second consecutive day and then parred the next three holes to allow the Caudills to close the gap down the stretch.
Quick and Gilliam finished six strokes back at 14-under, 130. Giliam, who is a junior at Tullahoma High School, is the two-time defending Tennessee Junior Amateur champion and has played in three USGA national championships this year, including reaching the final eight of the U.S. Girls Junior at Poppy Hills.
Carson-Newman University teammates Rachel Watts (Newport) and Reagan Kinnie (Murfreesboro) finished fourth at 12-under, 132, while former University of Tennessee golfers Teleri Hughes (Knoxville) and Blakesly Warren (Chattanooga) were one stroke back of them in fifth.
Burris explained that the familiarity her and Long have with each other’s game is one of the main reasons they make a successful four-ball team.
“Hanley and I have always played well together because we know each other’s games like the back of our hand, having played and practiced together so much the last three years,” she said.
“I think we have grown on and off the course to really know what makes us strive as a team. It’s made an apparent difference over the years. We pick each other up when we’re down, and quite frankly, we always manage to play well at different times.”
Long pointed out that the success the two enjoy as a team also comes from the differences in their games.
“Jenna tends to make a lot of birdies when she plays stroke play, and I tend to stay pretty constant with pars, a couple of birdies and minimal mistakes,” Long said. “I think having two different types of players in this format makes for a successful team.”
A look at the winners of the other flights in the 23rd annual Women’s Four-Ball Championship at Foxland Harbor:
The mother-daughter duo of Angel and Andrew Cropper (Nashville) turned in back-to-back rounds of 2-under, 70 to win by five strokes. Finishing in second place was Terri McAngus (Mt. Juliet) and Erica Chappell (Nashville) at 1-over, 145.
Meredith Thomas and Linda Horenkamp (Murfreesboro) rolled to a seven-stroke victory as they followed up an opening-round 75 with a 3-under, 69 to finish the tournament at even par.
Three teams tied for second at 7-over: Unchu Kim (Arrington) and Mi Hwang (Nashville), Julie Marr (Gallatin) and Rhonda Manous (Lebanon), and Diane Edmondson (Smyrna) and Becky Erwin (Lebanon).
Joanne Walker (Gallatin) and Donna Robers (Nashville) went 79-77–156 to edge Kim Crowder and Maggie Mignone (Nashville) by one stroke.
Angela West (Nashville) and Joni Kies (Goodlettsville) improved their first-round score by five strokes (83-78–161) to edge Gail Fowler (Chattanooga) and Hazel Davis (Ooltewah) by one stroke.
Janet Kincaid and Rosemary Overton (Loudon) turned in a two-day total of 165 as they followed up an opening-round 86 with a 79. Jan Watson (College Grove) and Michelle Dodson (McMinnville) finished runner-up at 172.
Debra York and Christina Tucker (Shelbyville) won by five strokes as they went 93-79. Dottie Dube (Old Hickory) and Patti McCarver (Brentwood) were second.
Kathy Kruse and Julie Natale of Knoxville needed a scorecard playoff to claim first place after they tied Sara Hume (Nashville) and Sharon Gore (Franklin) at 184.
For complete scoring from the 23rd annual Tennessee Women’s Four-Ball Championship at Foxland Harbor, click here:https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1378430