Matheson looks to make her mark at ETA

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Two years ago, Michaela Matheson made history at the Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur by beating three men en route to winning a flight in the match play division.

There was probably no better fitting tournament or person to do it.

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If you have played in the E.T.A. the last decade, chances are you have run into the former Hampton golf star who now plays for Milligan College at the tournament.

For several years, Matheson helped post scores at the tournament her father, Mike Matheson, is tournament director of.

Matheson now makes her mark as a player, and she plans to compete in the women’s division next week when the tournament tees off on July 1.

“I grew up around this tournament,” said Matheson. “Growing up I hung out at this tournament and helped out my dad. I first played two years ago and won a flight in the match play and last year I played in the first ever ladies division.”

Lacie York, a former Sullivan South standout who plays for Middle Tennessee State, won the ladies division last year, but Matheson is looking forward to trying to win, but most of all play her best.

“I would love to win,” said Matheson. “I haven’t had much practice because I have been involved in a medical program. I hope to play well.

“Most of all, I want to strive to play my best,” she added. “If I know I have given it my best, then I am happy with myself.”

Matheson received a lot of attention for her 2014 win. Her opponent in the finals was Paul (P.J.) Johnson, a well-known news anchor at WCYB and Fox Tri-Cities.

WCYB made the story their featured story about the tournament, even more so than Cayman Ratliff’s 10-stroke win.

Johnson and WCYB Sports Anchor Casey Goetz befriended Matheson during the week and it really did become one of the biggest stories of the tournament.

“Not a lot of women had played in the E.T.A. until then and it showed others that women can play and be competitive,” said Matheson.

As far as women go, Matheson is the face of the E.T.A. She hopes to make her mark again as the 2016 version of the tournament gets ready to start.

“Not because he is my dad, but my dad has done a great job running this tournament,” said Matheson. “It would mean a lot to me to win it. I enjoy playing in it. It’s a family event for us.”


On a day where the main goal was to raise money for a Christian Camp in Hampton, one of Hampton’s finest golfers helped lead a team to victory.

Chris Guy, Tommy Tipton, John Wagner and Zack Humphrey, playing for Carter County Bank and won the Championship Flight of the Doe River Gorge Golf Challenge with a score of 55 Monday afternoon at the Ridges in Jonesborough.

Though the tournament was sponsored by another bank, Guy says Carter County Bank supports Doe River Gorge too and anything in Carter County.

“It is a lot to fun supporting the community and supporting Doe River Gorge, especially,” said Guy. “We appreciate the bank sponsoring a team because it does go to a good cause. We support that ministry and try to support anything in Carter County because Carter County supports us so we support them. We try to emphasize that because we know small businesses help everyone. The amount of money that stays local is about 75 cents on the dollar while if you go to a big chain story it is 35 cents on the dollar. By supporting small businesses, it helps everyone who lives in the community itself.”

As far as the golf outing, Guy, who usually plays at the Elizabethton Golf Course, saw some big differences with the course at the Ridges and that made things very challenging.

“It’s a lot different,” said Guy. “You have to be on the right side of the course and the greens are super fast. The course is in great condition.”

The main sponsors of the event were Johnson City Honda, Citizens Bank and the Johnson City Lifestyle Center.

Doe River Gorge Director of Operations Ken Stoltzfus felt that it was a great tournament on a day that featured ideal weather conditions.

“This is the 20th year and the support has been phenomenal,” said Stoltzfus. “We had more teams than we have ever had. We raised about $45,000 for our ministry and scholarships for camp kids. It was a blessing.

“We don’t turn anybody away because of financial reasons,” Stroltzfus continued. “We have our financial structure set, because we need to run a good business, but we don’t want to turn kids away. We try to make it available for everyone.”

Doe River Gorge is known for its adventure, but there are things for everybody including retreats throughout the year for church groups and other faith-based groups.

“Our Dayquest program is good to go out for just a day on Saturday,” said Stolzfus. “We also book overnight retreats and we also have corporate teams that come in and do teambuilding throughout the year. We can help business, youth groups and basically anybody who wants to come to our program.”

For more information on Doe River Gorge Ministries, call 725-4010.