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High school golf: White sees results after changing swing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nitro High School golfer T.J. White shifted his weight, which resulted in a shift in his success.

With that, he'll be shooting for a spot in the State Tournament today when the Class AAA Region 4 Championships are contested at the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane.

All but one of the state's 12 regions are in action today seeking spots at the State Tournament on Oct. 2-3 at Oglebay Park's Robert Trent Jones course in Wheeling.

The Class AA Region 1 Championships are scheduled for Tuesday at Greenhills Country Club in Ravenswood.

As for Region 4, White is among the favorites for one of two at-large spots. The top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams earn a berth to states.

The region is made up of Cabell Midland, Huntington, Lincoln County, Logan, Nitro, Point Pleasant, Spring Valley, St. Albans and Winfield.

White has ascended the ranks of Kanawha Valley golfers this season as a result of a simple change prior to the start of the high school season on July 31.

"I had a busy summer working with (PGA Professional) Justin (Beard)," White said. "The week before the high school season started, I changed my swing. It was a weight-shifting thing. The biggest change I ever made. I had that swing for two days before I shot even at Sandy Brae."

White shot a 70 in the Kanawha County Championships, a 73 at the Mountain State Athletic Conference Championships and a 75 in the Capital City Classic - three of the season's major events.

To illustrate his improvement, White said his 70 at the county event featured 34 putts and only two fairways hit. He made up for it by hitting all but one green in regulation.

White has eliminated the inconsistency that plagued him during much of his prep career through the change in his swing that involves every club except the putter.

"This is my last chance (being a senior)," White said. "I had a really bad summer for Top-Flite, and I'm trying to make up for that with high school. Making it to states would make up for my bad summer."

There are seven players at the Region 4 championships who competed in last year's State Tournament - four from Logan and three from Cabell Midland.

The Wildcats finished eighth in the State Tournament last year, but return J.C. Motes, Eric Burnette, Chase Preston and Samuel Corns. They were Region 3 runners-up last year before being moved to Region 4 this season.

Cabell Midland, the Region 4 runner-up last year, returns Seth Kinker, Mark Wilcox and Jacob Beahrs.

Winfield is among the favorites to reach the State Tournament for the first time as a Class AAA school. Leading the Generals are seniors Chris Williams and Josh Bumgarner.

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IN REGION 3 at Lewisburg Elks Country Club, George Washington is favored to earn a trip to the State Tournament, where the Patriots finished third last year.

Senior Will Evans finished fifth in 2011, shooting a 154. This season, Evans won the Capital City Classic and the Parkersburg Invitational and finished second in the Stonewall Resort Challenge. The Patriots, who won the Top-Flite Junior Tour High School Series, also return Kris Webster to the regional mix.

Other teams in Region 3 are Capital, Greenbrier East, Oak Hill, Princeton, Ripley, Riverside, Shady Spring, South Charleston and Beckley.

Walker Dent qualified for the State Tournament last year for the Spartans.

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IN CLASS A, Charleston Catholic will continue its quest for a second consecutive state title when it competes in the Class A Region 4 Championships at Big Bend Golf Course.

The Irish are led by defending state Class A medalist Christian Casingal and state runner-up Aaron Persily. Also in Region 4 are Buffalo, Gilmer County, Parkersburg Catholic, St. Joseph, Wahama, Williamstown and Wirt County.

Buffalo junior Cory Hoshor will seek his third consecutive trip to the State Tournament. Hoshor finished tied for 10th last year.

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IN CLASS AA, 10 teams will share Big Bend with Class A when the Region 4 Championships take place. Chapmanville, Clay County, Herbert Hoover, Mingo Central, Nicholas County, Poca, Scott, Tolsia, Sissonville and Wayne will be competing for two team spots.

Poca and Chapmanville represented Region 4 last season, with the Dots finishing second at the State Tournament and the Tigers third.

The Dots, who graduated two-time Class AA medalist George Hamrick, will try to get back with his brother, Alex Hamrick, and 2011 State Tournament competitors Travis Covert and Steve Loudermilk.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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