Golf team qualifies for State Tournament

Sports Reports Sports

It wasn’t unexpected that junior Bailey Smith led the Morgan County golf team with a low score of 77 in the Area 3-AAA Tournament held at the Chestatee Course this past weekend.  He’s been doing that all season long.  What was a little surprising was how well freshmen Landon Breedlove and Jared Sanders played in their first-ever competition to qualify for the State Tournament.  Breedlove shot an 83 and all Sanders did was go out and shoot a career-low high school score of 86.  Coach Josh Reeves said, “Without their scores we don’t qualify for the State Tournament.  When a couple of freshmen carried us to that, it was pretty impressive.”

The Dogs qualified in third place with a team score of 339, one stroke below the cutoff.  They will compete this weekend at Cateechee Golf Club in Hartwell for the individual and team State Championships.  It is a two-day, 36-hole event that will be challenging for all attendees.  “We’ve played a lot over there, but it’s a heckuva test.  There aren’t any cheap rounds.  You’re not going to shoot a 78 there on a bad day.  You gotta play your best to shoot in the 70’s.  Some of our younger players have never seen it, but if they go there and compete, that’s what we’re looking for,” stated Reeves.

The only other two teams to qualify this past weekend were Hart County and North Hall.  According to Reeves, the Chestatee Course in Dawsonville is similar to Hard Labor Creek, the home course of the Dogs.  He described it as not particularly long, but you have to hit shots to score well.  “The greens were superfast, hard, and moving.  It was difficult for our guys to get a feel for them early on.  There are a lot of elevation changes and drop-offs to deal with, but it’s a beautiful course.  It has some great holes that are tough tests for sure.”  There were 13 teams that participated with only three making the cut; Morgan being one of them.  Low medalist honors went to North Hall’s number one player who shot a 68 on the day.  Smith finished in fifth place.

“It was a good day and the boys played hard.  The best thing about our team is that we have a couple of different options where guys can go low if they’re playing well on any given day.  This time it was Jared and Landon.  Next time it could be Reid (Brock) or (Eric) Brockman.  Our strengths are our youth and senior leadership.  Bailey played great winning the low medalist and made some big shots down the stretch to help us get in.  Landon made some big putts, and Jared pulled his weight with that 86,” commented Reeves.

The girls still have a slim chance of also making the State Playoffs.  It has to do with the number of qualifying teams from the four different areas that shoot a qualifying score.  The GHSA tries to fill the field with the best teams from across the state.  One Area might have only three teams to get in while another Area might have six.  Reeves said, “It would be nice to have both of our teams there.”

Reeves gave these final remarks.  “I think we have a good chance of doing well this week.  To be in the hunt you’ve got to shoot your best round over two days.  I’d like to see our seniors do well (Brock and Brockman ).  If you go out and compete, somebody could possibly be playing for the State individual Championship on the final day.  That would be nice.  You always want to manage your expectations, but at the same time shoot for the stars.  A top ten or top eight finish would be great.  You always go out there wanting to win it.  That’s why you play the game.  I’ll tell them to keep their spirits high, enjoy the fact that we qualified for state for the first time since 2015, and have fun.”

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