Class AAA boys state tournament
1. Columbus 293
T2. North Hall 300*
T2. Richmond Academy 300
4. Spalding 302
5. Gainesville 304
6. Eastside 306
T7. Murray County 307
T7. St. Pius X 307
T7. Woodward Academy 307
10. Dalton 310
11. Westside 317
12. Carrollton 320
13. Veterans 333
14. West Laurens 337
15. Cairo 379
16. Westover 399
*won in playoff
Top 10 individual finishes
1. Jimmy Beck, Columbus 68
2. Greyson Sigg, Richmond 69
T3. Aaron George, Lumpkin County 70
T3. Davin White, Spalding 70
T5. Tyler Woodyard, Veterans 71
T5. John Barfield, Rutland 71
T7. Charlie Flowers, Columbus 72
T7. Tate Miller, Eastside 72
T7. Ryan Matthews, North Hall 72
T7. James Bernhardt, St. Pius X 72
T7. Davis Parker, Westside 72
As the final groups came off the course Monday, the members of the North Hall High boys golf team huddled by the scoreboard to see if their 300 would win them a state championship.
Murmurs of a possible first-place finish increased every time Chattahoochee Golf Course head professional Roger Hogan tallied the final scores.
"Be good to us Roger," one Trojan said while Hogan was filling in a score from Spalding, which was one of three other teams in the hunt.
Small cheers burst out when Spalding's score of 302 was posted, but they quickly subsided once Richmond Academy's Greyson Sigg came in with a clubhouse-leading 69. That low score all but negated two of the rounds in the 80s and put the Musketeers in a position where they would need a 77 or better from their No. 1 golfer to take the lead from North Hall, which was one of the first teams to post a final score.
"We had to sit a while," North Hall coach Robert Mills said.
Mills had to sit even longer after Columbus' Jimmy Beck came in with a 68 to claim the individual championship and secure the team's second-straight Class AAA state title. Lumpkin County's Aaron George had three birdies on the back nine to finish in a tie for third with a 70.
"I've been sick the past few days, and I wondered if I played, if I was going to be able to finish," said Beck, whose Sunday practice round was the first time he's played Chattahoochee. "I knew once I played Sunday, I'd be able to finish under par."
Shortly after Beck's score was displayed, Spalding's final golfer posted a 79 to create a tie for second place and send the Trojans and Musketeers back to No. 18 for a playoff, with the best four scores deciding the second-place finisher.
North Hall held a one-shot lead after receiving a pair of bogeys from Ryan Matthews and Andy Bracewell, who scored a 72 and 79, respectively during the tournament. Richmond Academy got a par from one of its top two golfers, but were put in a hole after the other walked off the green with a 3-over par 7.
With no scoreboard to display the previous group's results, North Hall's Jackson Berry and Charlie Matthews drove their tee shots near the cart path, forcing a tough shot at the green. Berry, who carded a 75 in regulation, wasn't fazed by the difficult lie, and his low-rising punch shot landed roughly 20 feet from the hole and set up a two-putt par.
Matthews had a different run at his par, as his chip shot that landed within 5 feet allowed him to overcome an approach that came up short of the greenside bunker. Saving par saved the Trojans' chances and created a situation were North Hall's final two golfers would decide the team's finish.
Mills said he was "excitedly nervous" while sitting in his golf cart along near the 18th green, but he knew his final two golfers were sitting comfortably in the fairway with good opportunities to par the hole and possibly force another playoff.
Hunter Young, whose 77 was the final score counted in regulation, ignited the North Hall crowd with his approach that landed 15 feet below the hole. Matt McCormack followed that with an approach that ended up in the bunker, which looked even worse once Richmond Academy's final golfer put his third shot within 3 feet of the pin.
Knowing his teammate was in a good position to force at least a tie, McCormack took a run at the hole and came up just short. He tapped in for bogey and left it all up to Young, who calmly made two putts for par. With the thought of another hole in the back of their minds, the Trojans watched as Richmond Academy's golfer missed the short putt to lose the playoff.
"This is the best we've played all season," Mills said. "They all played decent at the same time which was good because no individual had a career round."
The Trojans' 300 was 13 strokes better than their best round of the year and four strokes better than Region 8-AAA champion Gainesville, which finished in fifth place.
"That was our lowest round of the year and we didn't play that well," Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said. "I'm not disappointed in the finish because we've finished in the top 10 in every event this year."
Columbus finished with a team score of 293 and received scores from Beck, Charlie Flowers (72), Jonathan Howard (74) and Will Johnson (79).
"These are really good kids who play hard for each other," Columbus coach Chris Parker said. "I think they played harder for each other today than we have all year."