FLOWERY BRANCH — Anyone looking for a champion to be crowned during the opening day of the Hall County championships will have to wait another day. It’s very close with individual and team titles still completely up for grabs in the two-day, 18-hole event that began on Monday at Royal Lakes in South Hall.
Kevin Bohn, Josh Foster and Ben Brisbois all carded 39s for the Johnson boys, who finished the day with a 158 and hold a one-shot lead over North Hall (159). Grant Cagle and Michael Dunham each shot a 41 for the Knights, who are aiming for the school’s first Hall County Championship.
"It’s exciting," Brisbois said. "We were hoping we had enough talent to win it this year.
"This really motivates us to come out and play our best (today)."
The Trojans are also in the thick of the title hunt thanks to the 39s from Jimmy Lloyd and Landry Haynes. Jesse Tipton (40) and Derek Watson (41) also counted toward North Hall’s team score.
The battle for the individual championship is just as close.
West Hall’s Will England jumped to the front of the pack after carding a 36 on the opening nine holes. The Spartans junior highlighted his round with birdies on No. 10 and 15, and only needed 16 putts to get to the club house.
On No. 10 he managed to land his 9-iron shot from the fairway to within five feet of the hole. Then on 15, he knocked a lob wedge from the fairway to six feet from the cup for birdie.
England is looking for his first Hall County title after finishing in a tie for second as a sophomore.
"This is an important event," England said. "It’s a big event, and playing right here on my home course, I really want to win."
As the boys prepare to play the front nine today, England holds a two-stroke lead over Gainesville’s Justin Cochran, Jake Martin and Flowery Branch’s Shane Weyenberg, after each shot a 38 on the back nine holes.
Martin, a junior, had one of the best rebounds on the afternoon. He tripled his second hole, but managed to come back and play the final seven holes at 1-under par. His birdie came on No. 16 when he hit a wedge to within eight feet of the hole.
"I think what made the difference for me is the fact that I’ve been in bad situations before," Martin said. "I just relied on my experience."
Also playing well on the first day of the tourney were North Hall’s Jesse Tipton (40), Chestatee’s Chase Vasser (40), Jameson Foote (41), West Hall’s Austin Lanier (41) and East Hall’s Corey Stokes (42).
The competition on the girls side is just as close as the boys. Gainesville (108), West Hall (109) and Johnson (112) are all in the running for the team title.
Red Elephants sophomore Camryn Cole is in the driver’s seat for the individual championship after carding a 45 on the front nine.
Savannah Rowe (53) and Tiffany Black (56) led the Lady Spartans. Candace Parson and Carly Robertson each carded a 56 for the Lady Knights.
East Hall’s Alex Cheney shot a 55.