BALL GROUND — North Hall and Lumpkin County represented Region 7-AAA well as both teams finished in the top five at the boys Class AAA state golf meet Monday at the Hawks Ridge Golf Course in Ball Ground.
The Trojans placed fourth, shooting a season-low (303) in the 16-team field made up of the top two teams from each region in the state. The Indians finished tied for fifth (305) in their first appearance in the golf state tournament in school history.
"We’re elated with how we performed in our first trip to state," Lumpkin County coach Jeff Fleming said.
North Hall entered the state meet after winning the Region 7-AAA championship with a 307. Lumpkin County traveled to state as region runner-up after shooting a 317 in the 7-AAA meet on May 1 at Royal Lakes.
"Having your best round of the year in the final match is what you aim for," North Hall coach Robert Mills said. "I was happy with how we finished strong today."
Landry Haynes led the way for the Trojans finishing in a three-way tie for second at 71 with Columbus’ Kevin Meadows and Spalding’s Henry Mabblett.
Haynes carved out his second-place finish with accuracy on the greens, making four putts of 20-feet or longer, and needing only 28 putts in 18 holes. He knocked down a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 2 and and hit a 20-footer for another birdie on No. 4.
On No. 6, he drilled a wedge shot to within five feet and putted in for birdie. His fourth and final birdie came on No. 17 with a 20-foot putt from off the green.
Haynes, a sophomore, only had three bogeys on the day.
"This course really favored the players who could stick it close to the hole," Haynes said.
Haynes finished with the low score for the Trojans, but it was probably Jimmy Lloyd’s rebound after a shaky first two holes that cemented North Hall’s strong finish.
Lloyd, the Region 7-AAA individual champion, bounced back from a double-bogey and a bogey on the first two holes to shoot 1-under par over the final 16 holes and finish with a 73.
"He could have thrown in the towel after the first two holes, but he kept fighting," Haynes said.
Lloyd’s first birdie — a chip in from 25 feet on No. 3 — signaled his turnaround. On No. 6, he drove his tee shot into the bunker and followed with a wedge shot to about 11 feet from the cup for his second birdie.
He also birdied No. 16 (25-foot putt) and added a short putt for birdie on the next hole.
With the bulk of its talent coming back, Lloyd is excited about the future for North Hall’s golf team and has hopes of improving on this year’s state finish.
Derek Watson’s 79 and Roger Nash’s 80 also counted toward North Hall’s team total.
"This was good to let us know we could do well at state," Lloyd said. "I feel like we’ll be even better next year."
For Lumpkin County, freshman Aaron George led the way with a 74. Everett Huntsinger (75), Adam DesPres (76) and Ben Jarrard (80) also counted toward the Indians’ final total.
"It was a good day for our team," George said. "I’m really happy that our team did so well."
George, who tied for third at 7-AAA, finished his first trip to state with four birdies, highlighted by a 45-foot putt for birdie on No. 7.
On No. 2, he hit a 6-iron to the green and followed with a 20-foot birdie putt. Then he had a birdie on No. 4 where he managed to get up-and-down safely from the sand.
"Aaron’s been our No. 1 all season," Fleming said. "He’s had a great season for a freshman."
Westminster’s Tee Wamsley finished as individual champion (69) and paced the Wildcats (292) to their second consecutive team title. Columbus (295) finished second and West Laurens placed third (302).