Playing under a different scoring system, Johnson High’s Grant Cagle decided to stick with what he knows best.
After focusing on the modified Stableford scoring system last year during the Big Red Shootout, Cagle ignored the fact that he was supposed to keep track of points and not strokes and just focused on playing golf. His method worked to perfection.
Cagle scored a 38, which was good enough for the individual medalist title at the fourth annual event Monday at Chattahoochee Golf Course.
“It’s a good change and it’s fun to change it up,” Cagle said of the scoring format. “This year I just played strictly by score. I didn’t even know my point total until my coach told me.”
That score of 38 tied Rabun County’s Michael Green, but Cagle won in a progressional playoff where the two scorecards are worked from last hole to first hole. That method also helped the junior golfer, who said he got better as the tournament came to a close.
“I finished very well,” Cagle said. “My last hole was my best hole. I had a ton of pressure on me and I had to make birdie. I was able to hit it within a foot and tap it in.”
Cagle’s 38 was the high mark for the tournament and his team, which finished tied with Gainesville for fifth place with a score of 121.
The Red Elephants were led by Jake Martin’s 36 and Justin Cochran’s 32.
“It’s really a big improvement,” Cagle said of the Knights’ showing this year compared to last. “We improved by 30 strokes and I’m really proud.”
Ben Brisbois and Josh Foster helped the improvement with a pair of 28s, while Michael Dunham and Clint Reeves both scored a 27.
Lumpkin County came in third place with a score of 126. The Indians were led by Everett Huntsinger and Aaron George, who both shot a 35.
Lumpkin County finished six points behind North Hall, which finished second at the Big Red Shootout with a score of 132. Roger Nash and Derek Watson led the Trojans with 34s, while Jimmy Lloyd shot a 33 and Landry Haynes and Charlie Matthews both scored a 31.
Despite the consistent effort by North Hall, the score of 132 was not high enough to knock off the defending champion South Forsyth War Eagles.
Led by Matt Mierzejewski’s 35 and a pair of 34s from Sean Stanfill and Brian Bowes, the War Eagles finished with a 134 to successfully defend their title.
South Forsyth coach Matt Loveless credits the course for his team’s strong play.
“I think it’s the greens,” Loveless said of why his team is successful at Chattahoochee. “Any time you can get greens that you can attack you’ll play better.
“I told the guys to get to the green and attack.”
That mentality was needed due to a field of some of the best golf teams in the state, including Westminster, Blessed Trinity, Johnson and North Hall.
“This is always a strong field and it’s always going to be a strong field,” Loveless said.
Playing against tough competition and on the course that will play host to the Region 7-AAA boys tournament, has Cagle thinking region title.
“It’s good to play this course because we’re playing here for region and our main goal is winning region and making it to state,” he said. ““We really have a good chance (to win region). We have a while to practice, and I think we’ll peak at the right time.”