Hoover wins golf tournament, Oxford finishes 4th
by Al Muskewitz
Apr 18, 2012 | 1371 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — Hoover coach Wes Cable imparted only one piece of advice on his team before sending it out in the final round of the third annual Kelsey Goodwin Memorial Classic with a double-digit lead.

Do your best.

That’s like telling Roy Halladay to throw strikes or Kobe Bryant to score. It’s what they do.

The Bucs’ best is usually better than most. On Tuesday, it was exceptional.

Hoover shot a final-round 296 and finished at 19-over-par 595 to win its fourth title of the year and this event for the second year in a row. The Bucs were a whopping 35 shots ahead of runner-up Hewitt-Trussville. Bob Jones (633) won a playoff for third over host Oxford.

Mountain Brook’s Dalton Skinner was the individual medalist — for the second time this season — shooting an even-par 72 to finish at 5-under 139. He won by four shots over Hoover junior Taylor McCullum.

Playing without their regular No. 1 or No. 5, the Bucs still put all five players in the 70s —for the first time in Cable’s two seasons with the team. In addition to McCullum, they got the best round of the day from Tanner Dixon (70) and 77s from Nick Cortez and newly installed 4 and 5 Chase Averitt and John Allen Bagby.

“I just told them to just do your best today,” Cable said. “That’s all they need to do.

“I’m blessed with five, six guys who can do this on a given day. Some days we have tough days, some days we have great days, but when they’re all together, I think they’re unbeatable.”

Skinner, a senior headed to Montevallo, entered the final round with a four-shot lead over McCullum and held his ground despite three bogeys in the middle of the back nine.

“Pretty much today I hit it well, which was definitely beneficial,” Skinner said, “Unfortunately, I felt uncomfortable over the putter, which I think was just the pressure. Once I made the turn I could feel it a little bit.”

Two of Skinner’s back-nine bogeys were three-putts, but he never really felt threatened until 15 when he missed a short par putt and McCullum made birdie to cut the margin to two.

Both players were in the middle of the fairway on 16 – the No. 1 handicap hole on the course – then Skinner caught the break that put him over the top. McCullum found the hazard with his second shot, a 7-iron from 180 yards. Skinner barely stayed up and eventually made bogey, while McCullum took a double.

“I thought I had a really good chance, especially with 16 being such a tough hole,” McCullum said. “I thought he might hit one in the woods or something; I just needed to make a birdie or two. I was due for a putt. I rimmed out so many.”

He didn’t get it, and Skinner closed it out with a birdie on 18.

If there was any consolation, he was part of the winning team.

“That’s the main thing, winning as a team,” McCullum said. “I knew we were so far ahead. I knew we were all playing pretty good.”

Skinner, McCullum, Dixon (146) and Bagby (151) were joined on the all-tournament team by recently crowned Calhoun County medalist T.K. Waugh of Oxford (148) and Pelham teammates Connor Slane (148) and Justin Nolen (148).

Tournament organizers traditionally award one $1,000 scholarship to a deserving senior in the event. This year, the competition was so close, it awarded three -- to Jacksonville’s John Michael Herndon and Pelham teammates Nolen and Ray Foushee.

Al Muskewitz covers golf for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.

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