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Fore! Junior golf back in action with Sneds Tour event at Cattails

Joe Avento • May 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM

KINGSPORT — As the sports world slowly begins to come out of the hole it was put into by the novel coronavirus, golf seems to be leading the way.

That was the case Wednesday at Cattails at MeadowView as 78 junior golfers played on the Sneds Tour, a statewide series of junior tournaments run in conjunction with PGA Tour star and Tennessee native star Brandt Snedeker.

“It is a new world,” said Cody Weems, Tri-Cities director for the Tennessee Golf Foundation, which operates the tour. “We’re just happy to be able to provide a program to give these juniors something to do this summer, get them outside, get them active.”

A full field for the Sneds events is 72 players, so Wednesday’s tournament at Cattails was officially above capacity.

“I think people are looking for things to do that they feel are safe and are run well,” Weems said. “That’s a lot of golfers for our first event. They want to play.”

As the golfers warmed up on the practice green — they were warned not to get too close to each other — you could tell they were anxious to play. Most of them have been playing golf all along, but this would be their first time competing in a long time.

“I woke up super nervous this morning,” said Bo Luff, a Providence Academy student from Jonesborough. “I was super excited to get out here and finally have something competitive. You’re playing against people now. You have something to play for instead of just trying to beat the course.”

There were a lot of different safety precautions going on Wednesday, and they’ll all be things that might take some time to get used to. Some are calling it the “new normal.” It’s a small price to pay to be able to play when other sports are still in limbo.

“We’ve made several adjustments to our guidelines, starting with tee times,” Weems said. “We’re spacing the tee times farther apart so we won’t have any large gatherings. We’re doing everything we can to try to reduce all those major touch points.

“We are leaving the flagsticks in the entire round, and we won’t have any rakes in the bunkers on the golf course. We will not have any shuttles on the course, and we’re not going to have a scoreboard, so the players won’t have a chance to linger.”

The players were just happy to be back on the course.

“It feels pretty good because it’s the first time we get to compete since the whole lockdown,” said Tucker McLain of Church Hill. “It’s like sports is really a big part of a lot of people’s everyday life, so it’s good to be getting back.”

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