"It was pretty rough out there today," Haynes said. "It was cold and very windy."
Playing in blustery conditions, Haynes led the North Hall High golf team to a second-place finish in the 14-team field of the Big Red Shootout in Gainesville. He finished with a team-high 32 points in the modified stableford scoring format that gives points incrementally for shots under par on each hole in this annual 18-hole event.
As the tournament’s defending champion, the Trojans were part of a talent-rich field that included tournament host Gainesville, Johnson, West Hall, Blessed Trinity, Wesleyan, and defending Class AAA state champion Westminster.
North Hall (115 points) didn’t keep the Red Elephant mascot trophy in Hall County for another year, but the Trojans did manage to finish as runner-up to South Forsyth (121), thanks to solid rounds from Jimmy Lloyd (29), Sam Weaver (28) and Derek Watson (26).
Last year, North Hall had the most points in the event with 145.
"There are a lot of lower point totals than in the past," Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said. "The wind and the cold weather put the golfers through some tough conditions."
Haynes, who finished fifth overall and highest among local competitors, took advantage of the tournament format with birdies on No. 1, 8 and 14, and only needed 29 putts to finish his round. He said it wasn’t one of his best days in terms of stroke play with "two or three double bogeys."
Haynes’ toughest birdie came on the par-5 No. 8. After an errant tee shot he hit a wedge to within one foot on his third shot. His other two birdies came with precise wedge shots around the green to within 10 feet of the hole. Haynes also avoided any three-putts.
"I played a little more aggressive today since you don’t get penalized for bad shots," said Haynes, a sophomore.
The modified stableford format never penalizes players for a hole worse than a double bogey. It awards golfers points for a bogey (1 point), two points for a par, four points for a birdie, eight points for an eagle and 16 points for a double eagle or an ace.
"The format is different," North Hall coach Robert Mills said. "You can’t play to take risks, so I told my golfers just to play golf."
Wesleyan placed third (113). Westminster and Blessed Trinity finished tied for fourth at 112. The Hall County champion Knights finished seventh overall (101), and North Forsyth finished eighth (94).
Red Elephants junior Justin Cochran played well with a 30 and Jake Martin finished with a 25 to lead the Red Elephants to an 11th-place finish (87).
"The wind was off and on," Cochran said. "The only thing you could do was keep moving and stay focused."
Johnson senior Grant Cagle finished with a tabulated total of 29 and Josh Foster was one shot behind with a 28.
West Hall’s Will England, this year’s Hall County champion, finished with a 26 to lead the Spartans.
Top four individual placers in the Big Red Shootout were: Blessed Trinity’s Taylor Hall (37), South Forsyth’s D.J. Wacksom (34), Westminster’s John Solms (34) and Rabun County’s Michael Green (33).