Gate City's Taylor fires incredible 10-under 61 in Region 2D tourney

Pat Kenney • Sep 26, 2017 at 9:00 PM

BIG STONE GAP — In Tuesday’s Region 2D golf tournament at Lonesome Pine Country Club, Gate City’s Chance Taylor won the battle, but Union won the war.

Taylor made eight birdies and an eagle to shoot a stunning 10-under-par 61 and run away with medalist honors. 

“It was amazing,” said Taylor, whose score was an LPCC competitive course record by two strokes from the white tees. “I just went out there today and played golf. It was fun.”

His brilliance had the Blue Devils in the team lead for a while, but the Bears’ balanced scoring proved to be the difference. Union eventually cruised to a 303-322 win over Gate City. 

Wes Slagle had a 72, Matthew Dupree a 73, Evan Blanton a 78 and Cole Stanley a 80 for the Bears.

Slagle had a front-row seat for Taylor’s fireworks on the course.

“Props to Chance,” Slagle said. “He played out of his mind. I’ve seen a lot of golf, but I’ve never seen anything like that. 

“I hit it really good today and he beat me by 11 shots.”

With a berth in the VHSL Group 2A tournament at stake, all Slagle could do was wait and see what his teammates would shoot.

“It was stressful,” he added. “We’ve worked so hard to prepare for this. It really felt good to get it done.”

After the first four players from Gate City and Union had completed play, the Bears led by six shots. When Dupree, the No. 6 man on the team, posted his 73, it was just icing on the cake.

“For the past two weeks all I’ve talked to them about was focus, attention to every shot and playing within themselves,” said Union coach Jerred Chandler. “We were number-crunching after Chance posted that 61, but the guys got it done out there.”

Taylor, who also earned Region 2D player of the year honors, had struggled to a 73 in last week’s Mountain District tournament at Lonesome Pine.

“I didn’t drive the ball well last week,” said Taylor, who will play his college golf at Tennessee Tech. “But I straightened that out. I was in the fairway all day and hit my irons better than ever. Only missed two greens.

“When I made the turn at 5 under, I knew I could continue to be aggressive,” he added. “I just let things happen.”

Taylor and teammate Luke Wallen, who shot 78, both qualified for the state tournament as individuals. Other individual qualifiers were Lebanon’s Adam Hooker (75), John Battle’s Grace Gillen (76) and Grayson County’s Trevor Hawks (80).

The 2A state tournament will be held Oct. 9-10 at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg.

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