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Gainesville boys claim 8-AAA golf title
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Gainesville’s Lawson King figures out the direction of the wind Thursday during the 8-AAA golf championships at the Chattahoochee Golf Club. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Region 8-AAA golf championships

Team scores

1. Gainesville, 289

2. North Hall, 305

3. Oconee County, 325

4. White County, 330

5. Johnson, 339

6. Franklin County, 340

7. Lumpkin County, 346

8. Stephens County, 350

9. Walnut Grove, 365

10. West Hall, 372

11. Chestatee, 377

12. Monroe Area, 414

13. Lanier, 415

Top-10 individual scores

1. Pep Brown, Gainesville, 66

2. Eli Crumley, White County, 70

3. Andy Bracewell, North Hall, 71

T4. Nathan Williams, Gainesville, 74

T4. Jackson Bishop, Gainesville, 74

T6. Parks Brown, Gainesville, 75

T6. Grant Lasseter, Gainesville, 75

T6. Austin Booker, Lumpkin County, 75

9. Drew Bryant, Franklin County, 76

T10. Lawson King, Gainesville, 77

T10. Trent Peeples, Stephens County, 77

T10. Luke James, Johnson, 77

T10. Hunter Young, North Hall, 77

Every time Pep Brown’s putter failed him during a round, his dad told him that, someday, he would make all his putts.

Thursday was that day.

The Gainesville junior birdied five of his first six holes and finished as low medallist with a 6-under 66 to lead the Red Elephants to a second consecutive Region 8-AAA tournament championship at the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville. It’s the program’s 35th region title overall.

“The putts finally started falling,” said Brown. “My dad says when I miss a bunch of putts, that I’ll make them all someday.

“I guess that day was today.”

It was also his best round of competitive golf, three shots lower than his previous low of 69. His team’s score of 289 also tied the school record, a good sign for a team looking to make a run at the Class AAA state title May 7 at the Augusta Country Club.

“I definitely think we have a good shot,” Brown said.

Gainesville coach Bryson Worley acknowledged that the field will be tough, but that his team is well positioned.

“The thing we have going for us is our depth,” Worley said. “The benefit is that when they tee it up, they know that they have five other guys that can shoot what they can.”

Behind Brown for Gainesville were Nathan Williams (74), Jackson Bishop (74), Grant Lasseter (75), Parks Brown (75) and Lawson King (77). Having all six come in under 80 is a blessing for a team gearing for the state finals.

Gainesville wasn’t the only team to display its depth.

Last year’s fifth-place state team will be joined from Region 8-AAA by last year’s runners-up, North Hall. Thursday four Trojans shot in the 70’s, led by Andy Bracewell’s 71, for a team score of 305, 20 shots ahead of third-place finisher Oconee County. Hunter Young (77), Matt McCormack (78) and Ryan Matthews (79) also came in under 80 for North Hall.

“You try to finish with the lowest score at the end,” said North Hall coach Robert Mills, whose team carded their best score last year at the state tournament at Chattahoochee. “We’re looking forward to Augusta, it should be fun.”

Joining the top two teams in Augusta will be White County junior Eli Crumley who, like Brown, picked a good time to shoot his best ever competitive round. Crumley carded five birdies and shot 3-under through his final nine holes for a 2-under 70.

Before Thursday, his best round was 74.

“I just tried to commit to my shots and hit them as best I could,” he said after the round. “The back nine was definitely my strong side.”

Unlike Crumley, Brown played conservative after a bogey on the par-4 7th and played the final nine 2-under as he battled the winds.

“It was difficult,” he said. “When we hit the back nine the wind really started picking up, so I really played more conservative.”

After his quick start, Brown could certainly afford to play conservative. He also played efficient; at the end of the day he had only made 27 putts and had hit 16 greens in regulation, his most efficient day on the course.

“That was probably the most fun round of golf I’ve ever played,” he added.

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