Old School

Daugherty comes by game, success conventional way

Tiger Woods had very little to do with this one.

Grant Daugherty took up golf because of his dad.

The Alcoa Middle School phenom turned heads recently when he signed off on a 2-under par, 34 for nine holes at the posh Avalon Landmark Golf Club in Lenoir City, rated one of the area’s top courses.

“I was just really hot,” Daugherty said. “During the round, I was just kind of, ‘Wow!’”

The super score is a continuation of last season for Daugherty, during which the nationally-ranked junior won three of seven tournaments entered, finishing second in two others. A district and region champion a year ago, he finished fourth at the state middle school tournament last season — as a seventh-grader.

During a win a Royal Oaks last spring, the All-American Junior Golf Tour champion blew through the course with a winning 75, again playing from the men’s tees.

It wasn’t Woods who first got him interested in golf, Daugherty said.

“It was my dad that really got me into it,” he said.

Daugherty’s father is Alcoa High School athletics director Rob Daugherty, once the school’s golf coach. A passing interest in the game, at minimum, was almost a given, but Grant’s taken it a lot further than that, Alcoa Middle coach Jason Adams said.

“He’s a gamer,” he said. “He’s a focused kid. If there’s such a thing as a golf rat, like a (basketball) gym rat, he’s that.”

All young athletes want to excel at their sport. Daugherty, Adams said, is willing to practice, and practice, and practice, and practice …

“That means rain, snow — and I’m not just saying that to make the article sound good — he’s out there,” Adams said.

Daugherty, who shot a 37 recently at Egwani Farms, isn’t bashful about his hopes of playing professional golf one day, and there’s only one way to make that happen. During the day, there’s school. Afterward, it’s time to grab a bucket of balls and head for Green Meadow Country Club.

“I go to school, come home and do my homework and run out to the golf course,” he said. “I stay out there until it gets dark.”

Daugherty is lighting up some of the state’s top youth as a consequence.

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