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High school golf: Tough luck for Indians, Trojans at state
North Hall’s Charlie Matthews tees off of No. 1 during the Class AAA golf tournament Monday at Waynesboro Country Club. - photo by Jonathan Zopf

WAYNESBORO — The attitude surrounding the North Hall and Lumpkin County golf teams near the end of the Class AAA state golf tournament sounded the same: It just wasn’t their day.

Whether it was balls landing in rough spots on the fairway that caused bogeys or birdie putts that lipped out, the tournament didn’t quite play out like the Trojans and Indians had hoped.

And that was before rain halted the tournament for an hour and a half.

"It’s disappointing not to play good, but it was a tough day for everybody," said North Hall coach Roger Mills, whose top-ranked Trojans finished ninth with a score of 318. "I’m not complaining, the kids tried hard and prepared hard, it just wasn’t our day."

Nor was it for Lumpkin County, which finished eighth despite having three players shoot in the 70s.

"It seemed like we were not quite in sync," said Lumpkin County coach Jeff Fleming, whose team finished with a 314. "I thought the course was in good scoring condition, but we didn’t take advantage of it."

A few teams, and players, did.

With a pair of 72s from its No. 1 and No. 2 golfers and a 78 from its No. 3, Burke County won the state title on its home course with a score of 304. Spalding High ‘s Henry Mabbett and LaFayette High’s P.J. Shields tied for low medalist with a round of 69.

The two individual champions were determined prior to the rain delay, which at came at 2:45 p.m., with several golfers still out on the course, including four from North Hall and three from Lumpkin County. The rain may not have been an issue had the tournament started on time. Play was delayed for an hour due to a car accident involving one of the teams. No players or coaches were injured in the crash.

The two Trojans that finished before the weather delay were Jimmy Lloyd and Landry Haynes, whose 77 was the only score in the 70s for North Hall. Lloyd, Roger Nash and Charlie Matthews all shot an 80 for the Trojans and Derek Watson carded an 81. North Hall’s sixth player, Ross Ward, did not finish due to another rain delay later in the day that came when the Trojans were already out of contention.

"They were focused and excited to play," Mills said of his team. "Maybe the expectations were too high, but I like them to be high. Realistically, I thought we had a chance."

So did the Indians, especially after they went toe-to-toe with the Region 7-AAA champions twice this year, including a one-stroke loss at the region tournament.

Lumpkin County got the best of its region counterparts Monday thanks to a 76 by Ben Jarrard, a 77 by Aaron George, a 79 from Austin Booker and an 82 from Everett Huntsinger.

Fleming didn’t care that his team finally got the best of North Hall.

"I wanted one of us to win it," Fleming said. "I don’t think it was either one of our days obviously.

"You can always say we had a great opportunity," he added. "But it didn’t work out."

While no round was spectacular, there were some highlights scattered in between the bogeys and missed putts.

Haynes, Matthews and Derek Watson each birdied No. 12, Lloyd finished his round strong with a birdie on No. 18 and Nash followed his birdie at No. 11 with a nice par save on No. 12.

Jarrard had a shot at finishing 3-over, but his approach shot on No. 9 (the Indians finished on the back nine) flew the past green before he got up and down to save par.

Although his team finished the year short of reaching their goal of a state title, Mills believes that this season was still one to be remembered.

"We had a great season," Mills said. "This shouldn’t put such a dark cloud on the season that you determine it a failure."

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