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March 20, 2013

Peachtree Ridge takes North Georgia Invitational

Northwest Whitfield best of locals

For years, Peachtree Ridge High School boys golf coach Bert Green brought his team to the North Georgia Invitational to see how his team stacked up against some of the best programs in the state.

Now, the Lions are the team others will have to measure themselves against.

The Gwinnett County school posted state-championship style numbers while running away from the two-day, two-round, two-course event, which concluded Tuesday at The Farm in Rocky Face. The first round of the tournament was held last Tuesday at Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, but for Peachtree Ridge, things only got better on the newly surfaced greens at The Farm.

The Lions had both the medalist and the runner-up for the tournament and finished the second round with a team total of 298 — just 10 strokes over par for the four counting scores on the team — to win the tournament by 30 strokes over second-place Roswell. For the two combined rounds, Peachtree Ridge shot a 606, while Roswell ended with a 636. Cobb County’s Harrison was third with a 655, while Northwest Whitfield had the best finish among three local teams participating, shooting a 342 Tuesday for a total of 687.

Dalton was fifth with a 691, while Christian Heritage improved its first-round performance by 15 strokes but was the last-place finisher in the nine-team field.

“We hope we are at the level of the top programs in the state,” Green said. “We’ve been playing well and I like the fact that we played well on a very demanding course. We wanted to see Harrison and Roswell on a championship-caliber course and see how our guys would respond. They did very well.”

Michael Cheng was the tournament medalist with scores of 73-72 to finish at 1-over par, three shots ahead of teammate Charles Huntzinger.

Christian Heritage’s Cole Town-send was the top individual finisher among local golfers, shooting a 79 at The Farm. Dalton’s Jacob Brown shot an 80 — eight strokes better than last week — to lead the Catamounts, while Ethan Hayes fired an 81 to lead host Northwest.

Townsend said competing against three of the top teams in the state on a course with very tricky greens with their new Bermuda texture was an eye-opener for the team, which is competing against Georgia High School Assoc-iation teams after five years in the Georgia Independent Schools Association.

“In the past, we wouldn’t see this level of competition until we got to the state tournament,” Townsend said. “It has been a good experience for us to see these scores.”

Townsend said the key for scoring on Tuesday was on those greens.

“I putted well and it was tough out there because these new greens are very fast and very slick,” Townsend said. “The course is in great shape, and any time you get to play out here, it is an honor.”

The Bruins turned in a steady performance. But Northwest coach Jim Mc-Grew — who was announced as the Dalton State College girls golf coach by Roadrun-ners athletic director Derek Waugh while speaking to the golfers after the event — said there are leaps forward his team must take.  

“We still have to mature as golfers,” said McGrew, who said he would teach one more year at Northwest before retiring after a 30-year career. “I thought Ethan played fairly well, but they would all tell you that they are letting shots go. We have to play one shot at a time and not get focused on other stuff. We are disappointed and aren’t happy, but we are still improving. We have to think our way around the course better.”

While Dalton couldn’t overtake the Bruins, the Cats did have a lot of improvement, cutting 15 strokes off their opening round.

“It was definitely better, and we probably should have scored a little better,” coach Chad Jordan said. “But I am really encouraged with some of the things I saw today. It is a work in progress, but that is why you play in tournaments like this in the middle of the season.”

Other individual scores for Northwest on Tuesday were Chad Flanders (84), Sam Speights (88) and Silas Ledford (89). For Dalton, scores counted for Landon Hicks (84), Allen Behr (86) and William Duffie (88). Christian Heritage’s team score was rounded out by A.J. Hooper (86, Blake Carver (94) and Kyle Stanley (95).

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