Farragut captures back-to-back titles at McDonald's Tournament of Champions

Dave Ongie • Sep 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Using a lethal combination of consistency and depth, Farragut overwhelmed the field at the ninth annual McDonald’s Tournament of Champions.

The Admirals from Knoxville became the first repeat champion in the history of the event by posting their second consecutive team total of 289, turning a 14-stroke advantage into a 28-shot victory at Ridgefields Country Club on Monday.

Davis Bunn led the charge for Farragut with a 4-under 68. His 9-under 135 total over 36 holes earned him medalist honors.

Starting on the back nine, Bunn chipped in for eagle on No. 6 of the day and didn’t make a bogey until No. 8, his 17th hole of the day.

The bogey was the lone blemish on Bunn’s scorecard as his strong play from tee to green gave him a four-shot victory over Keith Mitchell from Chattanooga’s Baylor School.

“I’m happy with the way I played today,” Bunn said. “I think I hit more greens today than I did yesterday. It seems like every hole I had a putt or a chance at making birdie.”

While Bunn anchored Farragut’s attack, a consistent effort from top to bottom allowed the Admirals to run away with their second consecutive tournament title.

Mitchell Thomas and Taylor Diegel are the fourth and fifth players on a team that features three Division I signees, but they both dug deep to avoid potential disaster after poor starts in the final round.

Thomas had a triple bogey early in his round while Diegel carded an unimpressive 41 on his first nine holes, but both players recovered to post matching 73s. Diegel fired a 32 on his final nine holes to complete a dramatic turnaround.

“I was happy for the 4 and 5 men,” Farragut coach Scott McKenzie said. “They did well today. We’ve got a lot of depth, so if somebody is not playing well, somebody else will step up.”

Jefferson County’s Logan Hance, who was paired with Bunn on Monday, also shot a 68 to move into third place in the individual competition. Hance’s 141 total left him six shots off the pace.

“(Bunn) kind of pushed me quite a bit today and I think that’s actually what led to me getting third,” Hance said. “I’ve been working on a lot of things all at once and I’ve been waiting on them to come together and they actually did today.”

Hance’s round helped Jefferson County finish third at 609, three shots behind runner-up St. Viator, Ill.

The top-finishing local teams were Dobyns-Bennett, which was eighth with a 626 total, and Sullivan South, which placed ninth after a 631.

Now the undefeated Admirals can set their sights on defending their TSSAA Class AAA state title. Bunn feels like Monday’s performance was a step in the right direction.

“I think it definitely gives us confidence,” he said. “Now I think we just have to build on that.”

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