|Gallatin's Burns, Swafford getting closer with their golf game|
|Tuesday, July 3, 2012|
MURFEESBORO — Rising Gallatin seniors Cori Burns and Austin Swafford took their shot at qualifying for this month’s USGA Junior Amateur tournaments last week at Old Fort Golf Club.
Only three spots advanced on the boys’ side and five on the girls’ side. Neither golfer was able to land one of those coveted spots to the national tournaments, but they were able to put themselves into another competitive field to see how their game stacks up right now.
Swafford shot 78-76 to finish tied for 28th. Burns shot a 13-over 85 to finish tied for 23rd in the girls’ one-day qualifier.
Swafford is still looking for consistency in his game, but said he feels he is close to putting it all together.
“I feel real close to being to where I can shoot some really good numbers,” he said. “I’m working on my long putting, my lag putting and of course my tee ball to keep it in the fairway and keep it in play. I feel like I’m really close.”
The driver hurt Swafford on the back nine the first day out. After shooting 1-under through nine, he finished 7-over on the back. On the second day, Swafford managed the 76 despite an 8 on the fifth hole and closing with back-to-back bogeys.
Swafford played in the Bubba Conlee National Junior Golf Tournament at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Bartlett, Tenn., a week earlier where he finished tied for 78th out of 126 players. He opened with rounds of 78 and 70 before a third-day 82.
Burns struggled from the opening hole when she had a triple bogey and her putter let her down most of the day. However, her full swing shots were showing the improvement she was looking for.
“I hit he ball pretty decent. After the first couple of holes my driver was good my irons were better but I just couldn’t putt,” said Burns, who estimates she had five three putts during the round. “There were a lot of lag putts that didn’t get halfway there and were way off line. I’m working on it so it’s getting better.”
Burns, who made a swing change at the beginning of June to bring more consistency to her game, said she is starting to see the benefits from that switch. And the putting is something she sees as an easier correction than the full swing.
“Putting is definitely easier for me to fix than the swing,” she said. “It took me a long time to make the swing change, but now I’m hitting the ball a lot better. Honestly, I’d rather be a better putter than hitting the ball. You’re going to get on the fairway and get on the green but putting and chipping bring it all together.”
In addition to the USGA qualifier, she also played in an AJGA Music City Junior at Richlands Country Club a week earlier. She opened with a 90 on the first day but followed with back-to-back 77s to finish 15th.
“It was a deep field of girls and really tough,” she said. “But it was fun.”
Swafford was one of five from the Sumner County area playing in the qualifier. Hendersonville’s Kevin Lee missed out on the final qualifying spot by five spots with his two-day 147. Pope John Paul II’s Connor McCarthy went 76-79 over the two days. Hendersonville’s Landon Albert bounced back from an 8-over 80 on the first day to post a 3-over 75. McCarthy and Albert tied for 30th. JPII’s Carson Riley withdrew from second-day competition. He shot a 91 on the first day.
Chattanooga’s Brooks Thomas won the even with a two-day 141.
Burns was one of three Sumner County golfers attempting to qualify. Beech’s Abbie Gregory came the closest with a 7-over 79 to finish tied for 11th — two shots off the last score to qualify. Lindahl shot a 26-over 96 to tie for 3st.
Elisabeth Bernabe of Anaheim Hills, Calif., won the qualifier with a 1-under 71.
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor
Photos by Corby A. Yarbrough l THE GALLATIN NEWS