Local golfers Whitt, Pressley in top 35
By Ashley Hargrove
The 7,111-yard Burningtree Country Club golf course has been a constant puzzle for area golfers Stewart Whitt and Kyle Pressley.
For the most part, they solved the puzzle. Whitt and Pressley were the top two local finishers in the 40th annual Daikin America Spirit of America golf tournament. Both landed in the top 35.
On Sunday, Whitt shot a 1-over 73 to finish the four-day tournament tied for 10th. The Athens High graduate had rounds of 71, 72 and 69 to go with his final-round score for a total of 285, which was 11 shots behind winner Hudson Johnson.
Pressley, a Falkville graduate, soared to a 77 on Sunday after rounds of 72, 71 and 72. His 292 total earned him a tie for 31st.
“I’ve always struggled at Burningtree,” said Pressley, 19, who has completed his freshman season at Northwest-Shoals.
“I never played my game to my ability this week. I could have played better, but overall I’m pleased.”
“I like the course, but I haven’t played well here in the past,” said Whitt, a rising senior on the Alabama golf team.
“I feel I could have played five or six shots better than what I did but I’m pleased. Finishing where I did let’s me know that I’m on the right track.”
Friday’s rainfall made for difficult playing conditions the final two days, the pair said.
“The soft conditions made it tough yesterday and today,” said Pressley, who was The Daily’s 2006 high school boys golfer of the year. “The greens played a lot slower. I had trouble getting the speed just right, and it showed.”
With the tournament being close for both golfers, Whitt said it’s nice to stay at home.
“It’s a sense of normalcy,” Whitt said.
“You get to relax more and eat home-cooked meals, where as if you were in a hotel, you wouldn’t have that.
But Pressley said more is expected from you when you play in the immediate area.
“You have a lot more experience but at the same time there is more pressure on you to play well,” Pressley said.
With school starting back in a few weeks, Whitt is closing in on his last season with the Crimson Tide golf team.
“Everybody is coming back, so the expectations are high,” Whitt said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Pressley said he might not play at Northwest-Shoals this season.
“I’m going to finish up at Shoals and then transfer to (North Alabama) to play,” Pressley said.
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