May 18, 2014

The year's final act

Dalton girls golf hoping to bring school another state title

Coming off of three solid rounds of practice on the course where the state championship will be decided, the Dalton High School girls golf team is ready to see if they can bring home the school’s second state championship in three days after the boys soccer team captured a state title.

For the Dalton boys, the competition is stout, but the Catamounts are showing their best golf of the year at the right time.

The Georgia High School Association’s 2013-14 athletic championship calendar comes to an end for area schools today as state golf tournaments are played throughout the metro Augusta area.

Dalton’s boys and Northwest Whitfield individual golfer Ethan Hayes will play at Westlake Country Club in Martinez. In the Class 2A girls tournament at Pointe South Golf Course in Hephzibah, Murray County’s Amber Lewis and Rebekah Wildes qualified as individuals to state based on their performance at sectionals. Also, North Murray’s Hallie Sheram will play in the Class 3A tournament at Waynesboro Country Club.

Scoring for all 12 GHSA tournaments — boys and girls in six separate classifications — will be posted throughout the day on www.golfstat.com.

The Lady Cats, runaway winners of the Region 7-4A championship, will face the rest of the classification at Waynesboro Country Club also. Earlier in May, Dalton’s girls finished third in the Burke County Invitational in their first look at the course. Now, after having played rounds on Saturday and Sunday, coach Nancy Hallsworth said her team is ready to make a run to the top of the leaderboard today.

“They are looking good,” Hallsworth said of her team. “The greens are a little different bermuda from what we are used to back home, but we have spent the days getting used to them. It is a lot flatter course than what we are used to, and that should make things interesting."

Dalton will be led by sophomore Region 7 medalist Carson Roberts, who has battled back issues since the region tournament at Dalton Golf & Country Club. She will be joined by juniors Mable McKone and Ashleigh Peters and classmate Baylee Mitchell in the four-play, three-score format of the tournament. With one of the top qualifying scores from the region tournament, Dalton will go out in the final groupings of the day.

The Dalton boys finished third in the Region 7 tournament at Nob North Golf Course, but the Cats were the top qualifiers from the state sectionals with a 311. Senior Jacob Brown will lead the remaining roster of sophomores and freshmen — Allen Behr, Davis Kirk, Addison Lambert, Landon Hicks and Miller Lovingood — in the six-play, four-count format for the boys.

While Marist, which set a tournament record in winning the state title last year at Dalton Golf & Country Club, and Columbus are the favorites for the team title, Dalton coach Hunter Johnston said his team is playing its best golf of the season.

“That is probably the thing that I am most proud of,” Johnston said. “We have struggled with inexperience because we are a pretty young team. We have talked about all of the little things you have to do to put together four scores in a tournament. I was so proud of how they showed at the sectional tournament with a course that was a big challenge.”

After seeing the Westlake Country Club, Johnston said scores could go low.

“This course is a lot more straight forward, and I think there will be several low rounds in the entire field,” he said. “You are able to hit long off the tee, and I think a lot of the flags you can be aggressive at the pin.  It sets up pretty well for us, and that is what I am hoping for.”

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