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Ryan Davidson, talented Gainesville boys gearing up for a run at Class 7A golf championship
Gainesville's Ryan Davidson tees off during the Hall County championship on March 28, 2022 at Chicopee Woods Golf Course in Oakwood. - photo by Bill Murphy

When Ryan Davidson decided to attend Gainesville High, he dreamed of winning a golf state championship.

In his two previous attempts, the Red Elephants’ senior has come up short. 

However, this skilled player has a great shot of making that happen in just a few short days. 

On Monday, Gainesville’s boys will be one of the top contenders in the 12-team field at the two-day Class 7A championship meet at the Chattahoochee Golf Club. 

Nothing, for Davidson, would match getting to hoist a state championship trophy with his teammates, just days before getting his high school diploma.

“It would mean a lot, especially with my teammates out there and a lot of friends out there to support us,” Davidson said. “(Winning state) would be very special.”

Led by Davidson, who carded a phenomenal two-day total of 10-under par at the two-day North Georgia High School Championships on May 7, Gainesville’s top player is geared up to put his years of experience to good use on the program’s home course. 

As nice as that most recent performance was, Davidson knows this one is for all the marbles. 

Davidson, who is also going after the individual crown, said his program has been diligent about its preparation for the championship meet. 

“We’ve had a good season and improved a lot since the beginning of the year,” he said. “We have a good plan in place and we’re going to control the things we can control on the course.”

Gainesville is seeking its first state championship in boys golf since going back to back in 2012 and 2013. 

The Red Elephants have won seven state titles in boys golf, dating back to 1978. 

Also for the Red Elephants, their team depth is bolstered by senior Wiley Hickerson, Turner Edmondson, Brigham Ralston, Nick Greene and freshman Henry Kopydlowski. 

The top four scores each day will count toward the team total. 

“We’re super excited about playing at Chattahoochee,” Gainesville coach Cameron Millholland said. “Everyone is playing really well right now. The key is don’t take ourself out of contention after Day 1.”

Playing at home will still be a challenge for the Red Elephants. 

A lack of substantial recent rain will make for fast greens, so discipline and precision with the putter will be key. 

Gainesville’s coach said that he constantly reinforces that writing down pars on the scorecard is never a bad thing. 

Too many bogeys, however, are the only thing that will make it hard for the Red Elephants to come out on top at state. 

“They’re hungry, no one is hungrier than Ryan to win,” Millholland said. “He’s in a good spot right now.”

Just six days ago, Davidson had the best round of his life, an astounding 8-under par (64) on Day 2 at Achasta. 

“It was pretty impressive,” Millholland said. “And he left some shots out there.”

The Red Elephants earned an automatic berth to state by shooting a 298 to win the Area championship last month in Acworth. 

Entering state, Milton appears to be the team to beat in the state’s highest classification, after shooting a 286 at its Area championship. 

Gainesville’s coach said his team has lost twice this season against Milton. 

However, it will be a distant memory for the Red Elephants with a win this coming week. 

To prepare for state, Gainesville’s boys have bounced around and played different courses this week. 

Chattahoochee has been hosting the Division-II women’s national championship meet since Tuesday, meaning even the home team has been putting the finishing touches on preparation elsewhere. 

Gainesville’s coach said that this week his players have teed it up at Achasta, Chicopee Woods, Lake Lanier Islands and had a free day Friday to play the course of their own choice. 

Other teams competiting at state are Alpharetta, Lambert, Walton, Harrison, Mill Creek, North Gwinnett, Lowndes, West Forsyth and North Forsyth, among others. 

The low individual qualifiers are Cherokee’s Blake Henriques, who carded a 70 at the state sectionals, and Tift County’s Bo Carpenter (71 at the Area championship).

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