February 27, 2014

Chris Whitfield: Morrow is just the latest area golf success story

— With such outstanding private and public facilities around northwest Georgia, it is easy to understand the popularity of youth golf in the area and the success those programs generate.

The youth programs at the area’s courses develop the game and its future. As a result, golfers coming out of high school programs continue to excel at the next level.

Former Dalton High School golfer Will Morrow gave us a reminder of that by being named Men’s Golfer of the Week for the Southern Athletic Association, an NCAA Division III conference, earlier this month.

In the opening week of the spring schedule, Morrow led Oglethorpe University to a win over Atlanta rival Emory in a 36-hole dual match Feb. 17 at Druid Hills Golf Club. A junior, Morrow shot a 1-under-par 71 on his opening 18 and followed that with a par round to win by one stroke over teammate Anthony Amodeo.

Morrow, a 2011 graduate of Dalton, was a two-time selection to the Georgia High School Golf Coaches Association All-State Team while with the Catamounts. Morrow and the rest of the Stormy Petrels will now prepare to travel to Pine Mountain to compete in the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate Championship this weekend.

At the end of the fall schedule, Oglethorpe University was ranked No. 3 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division III coaches poll. The Stormy Petrels were first at the Chick-fil-A Collegiate Invitational at the Coosa Country Club in Rome and the GolfWeek Division III Fall Invitational in Sandestin, Fla.

BEEP BEEP: Dalton State College’s fledgling women’s golf program brought another team member into the fold with the recent signing of Seminole State College of Florida sophomore Julia McQuilken. McQuilken is currently ranked eighth in the nation among junior college golfers.

McQuilken brings the total number of women’s golfers to seven for Dalton State, which will begin play in late summer. She joins current teammate Erika Wardzinski from the Sanford, Fla., school, plus Jenny Atkins, Caroline Griffin, Taylor Marie Griner, Christina Jimenez and Lisa Van Der Ross on the Roadrunners’ list of current team members or signees.

Dalton State’s men’s team began competition with a limited schedule this past fall, but the women’s team is essentially making 2013-14 a blanket redshirt year for the program.

“Julia gives us another leader to work with our younger players,” said Jim McGrew, who coaches the team with Marsha Whitener, in a Dalton State release. “She is the type of player and steadying influence that you have to have to win championships. This is another huge piece of the puzzle in bringing our program to the elite level we are trying to reach. She has been heavily recruited by all divisions and has had championship success at every level.”

A graduate of Riverview High School in Tampa, Fla., McQuilken was a three-year member of the Hillsborough County All-Conference Team and has enjoyed success in Florida junior match play competition as well as on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (based in Jacksonville, Fla.), according to the release.

McQuilken played a round with former Dalton High School standout and current Armstrong Atlantic State University player Brendie Rockholt last week at the Florida Southern Lady Mocs Invitational in Lakeland, Fla. Florida Southern has former Dalton High School golfers Will Duffie and Hannah Duffie on the school’s teams.

McGrew said the women’s golf team could add one more player to its roster before the fall, “if the right one comes along.”

EAGLES FOR EDUCATION: The 20th annual Whitfield Education Foundation’s fundraising golf tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 28 at the Dalton Golf and Country Club. Registration is $500 per four-person team through Friday, after which the fee will increase to $550. Individual registration is available for $150 per person.

The funds raised will support innovative teaching grants in the Whitfield County Schools system. To download a registration form, go online to wcs.whitfield.k12.ga.us/wef. To learn more, call (706) 217-6756 or write to wef@whitfield.k12.ga.us.

TAKING A MULLIGAN: Nob North Golf Course’s Frostbite Tournament scheduled for Feb. 15 was postponed due to, well, frostbite.

Actually, it was snow on the Varnell course left over from storms that swept through the area earlier that week that forced the tournament to be rescheduled for Saturday. The cost is still $60 for non-members paying in advance and $70 the day of the tournament.

CHIP SHOTS: There’s still time to enter several Georgia State Golf Association tournaments. The Four-Ball Championship (Cartersville Country Club, April 25-27), Four-Ball Tournament (Albany’s Doublegate Country Club and Stonebridge Golf and Country Club, March 28-30), Super Senior Championship (Adairsville’s Barnsley Gardens, April 2-3) and the Mid-Amateur Championship (Eatonton’s Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee, May 16-18) are all open for registration. Visit gsga.org for more information. ... March is the time of the year when many courses will be aerifying their greens, which is a pain in the putter for many golfers. However, Nob North is trying to take some of the sting away with a $10 merchandise credit on each round played during aerification, which will last three to four weeks depending on the weather. ... As part of a plan of changes at Indian Trace Golf Course in Murray County, much of the shrubbery at the corner of the dogleg on the par-4, 15th hole has been shaved back. We’ll have an update on more plans for the course as we head toward the start of the spring season.

"Fairways and Greens" is a regular column about the local golf scene by The Daily Citizen sports writer Chris Whitfield. Send your golf news, notes and the story of the time your skulled 6-iron hit off of the beverage cart and went in the hole to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.