Lumpkin County (306)
North Hall (318)
Josh Foster, Johnson — 70
John Luna, White County — 71
Grant Cagle, Johnson — 72
Will Frankum, Gainesville — 72
Parks Brown, Gainesville — 72
Garner Strickland, Lambert — 73
Landry Haynes, North Hall — 76
Michael Dunham, Johnson — 76
Harry Lambert, Lambert — 76
Austin Booker, Lumpkin County — 76
Jared O’Kelly, Creekview — 76
Brice Eaton, Pickens — 76
DAHLONEGA — The Johnson High boys golf team waited to receive the Region 7-AAA championship trophy with the poise of a team that had been there before, even though this was a first for the Knights’ golf program.
The Knights, who also won this year’s Hall County Championship, turned in a team total of 299 Wednesday at the Achasta Golf Course in Dahlonega to capture the region title by seven strokes.
For Johnson, there were no loud celebrations and no signs of bragging about a good day on the golf course, just a sense of satisfaction they’ll get to compete against the state’s best in just 10 days at the Class AAA state championship.
“This feels great right here,” Johnson coach Jeff Steele said. “I don’t care if it is by one stroke or 20 strokes; it feels great.
“The key for us (Wednesday) was having some guys step up and play really well.”
Lumpkin County finished second overall (306) and also earned a trip to the state match, which will be held May 3 at the Maple Ridge Golf Course in Columbus. Indians junior Aaron George was low medallist with a 3-under par, 69.
“We survived,” Lumpkin County coach Jeff Fleming said. “We played pretty good golf (Wednesday), and now we’re looking forward to going to state and seeing what we can do there.
“You have to give credit to Johnson for winning: To finish with a team score under 300 is a great accomplishment.”
Josh Foster, a junior, led the way for the Knights with three consecutive birdies on the front nine, and placed second overall with a score of 2-under par, 70. On No. 5, Foster ripped an 8 iron off the tee from 173 yards, followed by a short putt for birdie.
Then on No. 6, he finessed his third shot with a sand wedge to within a few feet of the cup, and tapped it in for birdie.
Foster finished his round with five birdies.
“This was just an entire team effort,” Foster said. “I was just doing my part to try and help the team get to state.”
As nice as Foster’s round was, Steele knew that the Knights had to have three other low scores to make the best four-man total.
Grant Cagle shot a 72 for Johnson, Michael Dunham carded a 76 and sophomore Luke James finished with an 82.
Meanwhile, George walked away with the individual title just one week after carding a 64 at the same course. Despite making the turn to the back nine at 1-under, George converted on three straight birdies on the back nine to build a lead he was able to hold on to for the win.
“Aaron is a great golfer,” Fleming said. “I don’t know anyone who puts in more time playing golf than he does.”
“I’m pretty happy to win,” said George, who placed third in region last year.
On No. 13, George took a 3-wood off the tee, which landed just shy of the green on the par 4, and managed to get up and down for birdie. Then on No. 14, he was on the green in two, and two putted for birdie.
Even though those two birdies were nice, he really impressed Fleming with his play around the green on the par 5, No. 15.
George went for the green on his second shot and cleared the river that runs through the fairway, just shy of the green, but his shot landed about 10-20 yards off the green and along the tall grass lining the water.
It was seemingly no problem for George, however, as he chipped up to about 20 feet from the cup and hit his birdie shot to move to 5-under at the time.
“Aaron has an unbelievable short game and wedge game,” Fleming said.
White County’s John Luna was the only other golfer with a score below par (71). Gainesville’s Will Frankum and Parks Brown each carded an even par.
Lambert placed third (312), Gainesville fourth (313) and North Hall fifth (318).