Two players with a score under par and a great deal of patience through a three-hour weather delay have the Gainesville High boys sitting in a very respectable fifth place in the standings after Day 1 of the Class 6A championship meet at the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville.
Red Elephants’ junior Ryan Hogan shot a 2-under par 70 and his teammate Brody Simmons finished with a 71, giving them a team score of 297, seven shots off the pace set by defending 6A state champion Johns Creek. Gainesville’s first round total at state was three shots better than its state-qualifying round of 300 in the Area meet.
Heavy rain rolled in about 2 p.m., accompanied by spotty lightning, forcing a delay that lasted until just after 5 p.m. The final pairings finished play and hit the clubhouse just before darkness settled in for the night.
“I thought we played fairly well today,” Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said.
Final round play is today at Chattahoochee. All involved are hoping for dry conditions for the final 18 holes, but Worley is optimistic they can pull it off, even with rain.
“We’ll pull out the galoshes if we have to,” said Worley.
When play stopped midway through the day with a pounding rain, Hogan’s ball was on the 17th green. After having to rest for three hours, he came back out and drained the five-footer with a little bit of a break to it for birdie. Gainesville’s leading scorer, who sits third overall individually, came back after the rain and shot a 37 on his final nine holes.
Players felt the course played well, despite the prolonged bad weather.
“It was a grind out there today with that long of a delay, but we’re prepared for that as a team,” said Hogan, who hit 16 of 18 greens for the day.
Hogan also had a birdie on No. 8 when his third shot on the par five out of the bunker stopped about an inch from the cup.
Simmons picked up strong after the break strong too, starting on the No. 18 fairway and making his birdie putt before making the turn to the front side. It was the lowest round this season for Simmons. He is in a nine-way tie for fourth individually.
“Brody and Ryan picked the best time to play their best round this season,” said Worley.
Even with a strong first round in the books, Worley said it would take a remarkable effort to claim the championship today.
“We’d have to go really low to win,” Worley said. “6A is absolutely loaded.”
Cambridge and Creekview were tied for second (293) after the first round, while Lakeside-Evans (294) is fourth.
Greenbrier’s Austin Heider and individual state qualifier Austin Fulton from Douglas County tied for the individual lead after a first-round 69.