Sports Editor, Chad Magee
Senior golfer Peyton Sliger became the first Flame in Lee history to win the State Amateur Championship on Aug. 8, 2015, at Holston Hills Country Club.
In the second round, Sliger posted a 62 that tied the record for the lowest round ever recorded in the tournament.
Sliger showed his mental toughness by not allowing himself to become overconfident for the final two rounds of the four round contest.
'The first round was ok, but in the second round it really started clicking for me,' Sliger said. 'I definitely wanted to keep the momentum going, but at the same time remember that it's just another day. I was a little nervous before the third round because of that, but after the first few holes I was fine.'
With the win, Sliger became the 100th golfer to win the State Amateur Championship.
Flames Head Golf Coach John Maupin has instructed Sliger through his entire collegiate career. Maupin attended on the final day of the tournament and watched Sliger put the finishing touches on his Championship victory.
'Tennessee has a really historic State Amateur that a lot of great players have played in. It's really the biggest Amateur tournament of the summer for the state,' Maupin said. 'He [Sliger] had a great second round, but it's tough to follow that up sometimes. But, he did it so well.'
Sliger feels blessed to have always had Maupin as his coach.
'I was recruited by Coach Maupin, he's great. He basically started the women's golf program here at Lee' Sligler said. 'I couldn't ask for a better coach.'
Sliger plans to continue his golf career after graduation by pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer.
Before graduation, Sliger looks to contribute to the Flames team's success in the fall season of 2015. The Flames took first place in the Gulf South Conference Tournament in the spring season of 2015.
Senior Golfer Taylor Davis is another Flame with plans to pursue a career as a professional golfer after completing his collegiate career. Davis was named a Scholar All-American by Cleveland/Srixon in July of 2015.
Davis said he sees first hand the type of player that Sliger is every time that they step on the practice course together. Seeing his teammate win at such a high level of competition served as a nice reminder for everyone of the talent on the team.
'We all knew that Peyton had the potential to get it going like that, hitting it as well as he does,' Davis said. 'So really it just reinforces the confidence we have in ourselves as a team.'
Davis said that he and Sliger have a healthy competitive relationship that strengthens both of their play.
'I would say that we push each other, but I don't think that's a result of the AM [Amateur State Championship]. In fact, I would say what makes us such a successful team is that we all compete against each other and are constantly pushing each other's games,' Davis said. 'It's very nice to have that on our team, but I'd definitely say that Peyton and I make each other better.'
Sliger is optimistic about the Flames men's golf team in his senior year. With the combination of experience and the competitive nature between himself and Davis spreading throughout the team, Sliger is confident in the ability of this team.
'The team is great this season. We are very deep. This is the best team that I have ever played for,' Sliger said.
The team will attempt to translate the momentum gained from Sliger's state championship win into team success in the upcoming 2015 season.
The fall of 2015 will be the first season for the Flames golf team to officially compete as a part of the NCAA Division II.
Maupin said the negative factor that the transition could have on his players' mental games. However, he does not think that it will be anything that this team will not be able to overcome.
'I think the biggest change for us as a team is just that we won't be competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association anymore,' Maupin said. 'But it really doesn't change too much. We are playing in a lot of the same tournaments we played in last year. I don't want our guys to go out there and press or try too hard now that it is official. But I really don't expect that.'