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Johnson boys win first Hall County title

POSTED: March 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

North Hall's Will Story chips onto the green Tuesday afternoon during the final round of the Hall County Championships at Royal Lakes Gold Course.

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FLOWERY BRANCH — The Johnson boys golf team has done a lot of things on their home course at Royal Lakes in South Hall. But on Tuesday, the Knights were able to do something they’ve never been able to do before — celebrate a Hall County Championship.

Johnson finished with a combined score of 313 in the two-day event and finished only two strokes ahead of last year’s winner North Hall (315) to win the Hall County Championship for the first time in school history.

"Anytime you beat North Hall and Gainesville you got to feel good because there’s a lot of tradition at both those schools," Johnson coach Jeff Steele said. "I think we’ve had this event 18 or 19 years and Gainesville has won it 17 times and North Hall has won it once or twice. We’re glad we can be included in that group."

Clinging to a one-stroke lead entering the final day of the tournament, Johnson’s Michael Dunham and freshman Josh Foster each carded a 38 and Clint Reeves shot a 39 to lead the Knights.

"I kind of felt a little pressure but I wanted to help my team win its first Hall County (title)," Foster said. "I just played my game and didn’t try to do anything different. If a 38 came then a 38 came."

Grant Cagle (40), Kevin Bohn (42) and Ben Brisbois (44) also contributed for Johnson in the win.

The Trojans were led by Jimmy Lloyd’s final round of 36 (75 overall) and Landry Haynes’ 38, but the team’s combined score of 156. Both days, North Hall finished one stroke behind the Knights.

Lloyd and Gainesville junior Jake Martin tied for second place individually.

West Hall junior Will England was crowned champion for the boys, shooting a final-round 38 to give him a combined score of 74.

Entering the final day leading by two strokes over Martin and Gainesville’s Justin Cochran, England knew he had to be on top of his game in order to win his first Hall County championship.

"Both of the guys I was playing with were playing really well," England said. "The pressure was on, definitely."

After pars on the first two holes, England bogeyed the third hole and increased that already present pressure. The junior Spartan then made four straight pars to keep him at 1-over for the day.

With a championship in the front of his mind, England hit a 4-iron off the tee at No. 9, leaving him a tough second shot over the water that separates the fairway and green.

England’s next shot landed in the bunker just over the water, and on the ensuing bunker shot, he skied a lob wedge over the green. But in what he called "the best chip of his life," England landed the ball a foot away from the hole for a tap-in bogey.

"I just knew I had to get up and down," said England, whose final shot was witnessed by a substantial crowd surrounding the No. 9 green.

That bogey secured England the title, beating Lloyd and Martin by one stroke and Cochran by two. Foster finished the tournament tied with Haynes and Flowery Branch’s Shane Weyenburg for fourth, each carding a tournament score of 77.

While both the boys individual and team champions came down to the wire, on the girls side, the winner pretty much ran away with the event.

For the second consecutive year Gainesville sophomore Camryn Cole took home the Hall County individual title, finishing with a score of 93. The closest competitor to Cole was Johnson’s Candace Parson, who finished with a score of 107.

"This course was a true challenge for me," Cole said. "I wish I could have carded a better score, but I’m very excited."

Adding to that excitement was the fact that Cole, along with Susan Frobes (126) and Ashley Kitchel (134) led the Gainesville girls to the team championship.

"I’m just so excited I can’t explain it," Cole said.

Gainesville’s win prevented Johnson from repeating as tournament champions, but the Lady Knights (226) finished in second place, one stroke ahead of West Hall, who was led by Savanna Rowe, who carded a 113.



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