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Region 7-AAA championships
Where: Achasta Golf Club, Dahlonega
When: 8 a.m. today
Last year’s winner: North Hall
North Hall coach Robert Mills makes no bones about giving his team a sole focus at the beginning of the season.
“Winning region is our main goal,” Mills said. “If we take care of that, we go to state.
“It’s by far the top rung on my ladder.”
He’s also a realist, however, and very aware that golf is one of the least controllable sports.
“You can’t predicate winning because you can’t control what the other guys do,” Mills said. “In basketball you can stop someone from shooting and in football you can tackle someone; but in golf, you don’t have any control.”
So all Mills can do is hope the regular season has prepared his team enough for the Region 7-AAA boys golf tournament, which begins play at 8 a.m. today at Achasta Golf Club in Dahlonega with the top two finishers advancing to the Class AAA state golf tournament.
“The tournaments we’ve played in and the competition we’ve faced have all been in preparation for (today),” Mills said.
North Hall has won three straight region titles and four out of the last five. And they competed this regular season with a fourth straight region championship in mind.
Class AAA’s eighth-ranked Trojans played head-to-head against fourth-ranked Gainesville, Hall County champion Johnson and third-ranked Lumpkin County; and also played the three aforementioned in several tournaments.
“Playing the top ranked teams, and them being in your region is invaluable,” Mills said. “You play this game to play against the best and we’ve been able to do that this year.
“There’s tremendous competition in our region, but it makes everybody better.”
Mills went on to say that what he considers the top five teams — Lumpkin County, North Hall, Gainesville, Johnson and Lambert — could each easily finish in the top spot, or the fifth spot, with little point margin in between.
“You just never really know and that’s what makes it fun,” Mills said. “We all thrive on good competition.”
In that spirit, North Hall and Lumpkin County have had the most fun the last two years.
In 2008, the Trojans won their second straight region title shooting a 307 to the Indians 317.
In the state tournament that same year, North Hall finished fourth (303) to Lumpkin County’s fifth (305).
Last year, North Hall topped Lumpkin County by one stroke for its third straight region title. In fact, the top four finishers in the region tournament — which included Gainesville at three and Johnson at four — were separated by only 10 strokes.
At last year’s state tournament, Lumpkin County got the best of North Hall as the two teams finished eighth and ninth respectively with the Indians shooting a 314 and the Trojans shooting a 318.
This year, the Indians will be playing the region tournament on their home course and should have the upper hand; at least that’s what one would think.
“I don’t think the host school has won it in sometime,” Mill said. “Playing on their home course gives them familiarity, but sometimes too much can cause a mental lapse.
“Then again, lots of things in golf cause mental lapses.”