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Gainesville finishes second in girls region golf tourney
Johnson’s Lauren Smith takes a practice swing Monday during the Region 7-AAA girls golf championship at Chattahoochee Golf Course. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Region 7-AAA girls golf tournament

Top 5 teams

1. Lambert    157

2. Gainesville    166

3. Creekview    170

4. West Forsyth    176

5. Johnson    187

Top 5 individuals

1. S. Shanahan, Lambert    74

2. C. Cole, Gainesville    76

3. J. Baker, Creekview    78

4. J. Walker, Lambert    83

5. M. Wood, Lumpkin    89

5. A. Rattazzi, Pickens    89

Prior to playing in the final region tournament of her high school career, Gainesville High’s Camryn Cole gave herself one simple goal: to play the best she had all year and to help her team reach the state tournament.

Cole accomplished both by carding a 76, which combined with Susan Frobos’ 90 gave the Lady Red Elephants a combined score of 166 and a second-place finish Monday at the Region 7-AAA tournament at Chattahoochee Golf Course.

“I hit the ball great,” said Cole, who eagled No. 6. “But my putts killed me.”

Citing the recent aerating of the green, Cole called the putting surfaces “nasty,” but complimented the staff at Chattahoochee for getting them back to a suitable playing condition.

Also feeling the impact of the putting surfaces was Lambert High freshman Sloan Shanahan, who won the individual title with a 74 and, combined with Jessica Walker’s 83, helped the Lady Longhorns win the team title with an aggregate score of 157.

“The greens made 3-footers feel like 10-footers,” Shanahan said. “All things considered, it wasn’t a terrible round.”

The round started off rough for Shanahan, who bogeyed the first hole but was able to get back to even with a birdie on No. 3. Another bogey put Shanahan at 1-over, but the freshman birdied three straight holes to finish the front nine at 2-under.

“I just had a lot of mental mistakes on the back nine,” she said.

Cole also believed that she left some shots on the golf course, saying that she could have shot a 69.

“I missed three 3-foot putts,” she said. “But the cool thing about golf is if you mess up, the good shots will come back to you.”

That was evident on No. 6 when she sank a 40-foot putt for an eagle.

“Considering the shape of the greens, it was one of my most solid rounds all year,” Cole said.

Cole’s round was even more impressive when you consider that she tore her ACL in December and has to play with a brace that encases most of her left leg.

“I’ve actually gotten used to it,” Cole said. “It’s not a hindrance anymore, it’s kind of like a security blanket.”

While the two lowest scorers on the day left the course disappointed, their coaches did not. Especially when it came to how their top golfers performed.

“It was great to see Camryn play well,” Gainesville coach Clay McDonald said. “She hit the ball well and stayed focused all day.”

McDonald also applauded the play of his three juniors, Frobos, LeeAnn Noble and Lila Cooley, who all broke 100 for the first time Monday.

“That showed a lot of character for them to come out here and all have personal bests,” he said. “It definitely makes the future bright because they know they can do it.”

If Gainesville’s future is bright, then Lambert’s is even brighter.

Not only is Shanahan just a freshman, but the remaining members of the Lady Longhorns, including Walker, are underclassmen. Add in the fact that Lambert is playing in its first year as a member of a region, and there’s little explanation needed for the reasons behind its coach’s excitement.

“We’re a brand new school and you never know what you’re going to have as far as golfers,” said Lambert coach Joel Posey, whose team finished the year undefeated. “It’s been a great year and it’s all because of the girls.”

Lambert and Gainesville will have one more tournament to increase this year’s success, as both teams will compete in the Class AAA state tournament May 4 in Columbus.

“In one sense, the pressure’s off because you made it,” McDonald said of competing in the state tournament. “But at the same time, you want to represent your region well.

“We’ll have to do some homework to prepare for that course.”

Neither team has played at the Country Club of Columbus, but that won’t change Posey’s outlook on the tournament.

“My expectation is for them to go out there and have a great time, and let everything fall into place,” he said.

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