From Staff Reports
North Murray High School senior golfers Colby Hipp and Jocelyn Blair have both signed athletic scholarships to play at the college level. Their performance in the Geor-gia High School Association’s Class 3A state tournaments Monday proved they are at the top of their class.
Hipp fired a 1-over-par 73, and Blair tied for second overall in the girls tournament with a 6-over 78. Blair’s round on the Cha-teau Elan Golf Course in Braselton was part of a team score of 272 as the Lady Mountaineers finished third overall.
North Oconee won the team title with a 245, and North Murray’s girls were two strokes away from finishing tied for second with Woodward Academy.
The difference between the two teams was not in play on the course, but on a ruling about a free ride in a golf cart.
North Murray senior Dara Dople, who will play at Maryville (Tenn.) College, was given the two-stroke penalty by an official from the Atlanta Junior Golf Association. Dople lost her drive on one of the holes, and one of the coaches from Buford trailing the group offered to give Dople a ride to see if she could find her ball in case she had to return to the tee. When she returned to the tee box, the AJGA official assessed her a two-stroke penalty. According to GHSA rules, players must walk the course at all times unless they are being shuttled at designated places, so the ruling was Dople received an improper benefit.
“Pace of play was terrible, and (Dople) thought she had hit it out of bounds,” Blair said. “One of the Buford coaches said to hop on, and like any well-mannered teenager who is taught to respect your elders, when the coach told her go with him to look, she didn’t think anything of it.”
Even with the penalty, Dople finished with a 95 while teammate Tillie Hughes added a 99. Coach Keith Robinette was pleased with the way his team played.
“Our mark was 270, and we hit that and we thought it might have a chance,” Robinette said.“But North Oconee shot a 245 and it wasn’t even close for anyone, but I am very proud of our girls. They all battled all day long.”
Blair’s battle on Monday was with North Oconee’s Crocket Floyd. Playing in the same group, the two traded shots back and forth and came to the 18th green tied and thinking they were fighting for medalist honors. Blair had a one-shot lead on Floyd at 17 and both were on the green with birdie putts. Floyd drained a 30-footer, while Blair’s 12-footer slid past and they went to 18 tied.
Blair’s drive went into the pine needles off the fairway and under a tree on the last hole, but she was able to recover and send a runner to the green.
Both girls took pars, and Blair thought they were headed to a playoff after both finished at 78.
However, Elbert County’s Hannah Barger had already gone to the clubhouse with a 73 to take medalist honors.
“I have always said I would rather lose with a 70-something than win with a high 80,” Blair said. “You can’t be mad. I am sure I could have done more, but that is a score where you just congratulate the winner.”
Hipp played in the boys tournament at Reunion Golf Course in Hochston and was one stroke behind two players — one of which was Brooks Thomas from Ringgold. Other players were still on the course when Hipp left for the day, so final results of the tournament were not known by North Murray.
• Murray County’s Dylan Hubbard shot a 95 at the Class 2A boys tournament at Rocky Creek Golf Club in Vidalia, while the Lady Indians’ Amber Lewis shot a 118 at the Class 2A girls tournament at Hawk’s Ridge Golf Course, also in Vidalia.
Hubbard, a senior, started with a 52 on the back nine but rebounded after the turn with a 43 on the front nine. On the 18th, he took a two-stroke penalty when his drive went into the water.
Dotson didn’t know how either competitor finished compared to others but said a 70 was good for medalist honors in the boys tournament; a 71 was the best score when Dotson and Lewis, a junior, left for the day.