Best round in a state tournament — that’s exactly what Gainesville’s boys golf program did Tuesday during the second and final round of the Class 6A state championship at the Chattahoochee Golf Club.
The Red Elephants put together a second-day 287 (1-under par), which is two strokes better than when they won it all in 2013 and also better than any of its six other boys golf state championship performances dating back to 1978.
This year, with the newly-expanded two-day format, Gainesville took fourth overall (584) but was 10 shots better in the final round than Monday when a three-hour weather delay due to heavy rain marred the flow of play.
“I’m just very proud of these guys for making a run,” Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said. “We had a bunch of juniors grow up and seniors step up today.”
Davis Weaver paced the Red Elephants with a final-round 67 (5-under) as they closed just five shots back of repeat state champion Johns Creek. Brody Simmons and A.D. Winston each had a final-round 73 for Gainesville.
Individually, Creekview’s Brady Keran finished with the title after shooting 140 (2-under par) for the second-place Grizzlies (582).
Red Elephants senior Hunter Worley provided the most memorable moment, sinking an uphill 50-foot birdie putt with a bit of a break to it for the final shot of his high school career and his father, Gainesville’s coach, there to give him a hug after draining the putt from just off the green.
“Hunter was just off the green for his third shot and he looked at me and said, ‘Let’s go make this,’” Bryson Worley said.
And he did.
“I screamed as loud as I could when the putt went in,” Hunter Worley said.
Worley closed with a final-round 74.
Weaver was strong from start to finish over the final 18, shooting his best tournament round while finishing just two shots back of his best 18-hole round ever, he said.
The Gainesville junior ran off a string of birdies on Nos. 6-8. His putt on No. 6 was the longest of his birdies, about 15 feet to the cup. The even-keeled Weaver was in contention for birdies all day by hitting 17 of 18 greens with two putts remaining for par.
After a shotgun start due to another lengthy weather delay, Weaver nearly eagled No. 1 (his 16th hole of the day) when his second shot hit the flag stick but two-putted for par.
Then on his 17th hole, he stuck his second shot within five feet and drained the birdie, drawing a fist pump from the Red Elephants’ top performer on the day.
On his final hole, Weaver was left with a tricky chip shot after his tee shot on the par 3, No. 3 landed on the right side of the green and left his second shot with the ball slightly above his feet. He stuck his second shot within a couple inches of the pin to save par and cap off his round of 67.
He said sticking the tough wedge shot was a matter of knowing the course so well.
“I was solid with my wedge shots all day,” said Weaver.
Second place individually was a two-way tie at 141 between Austin Heider (Greenbrier) and Brent Hamm (Houston County).