The GHSA state golf championships began Monday and a few area teams and individuals are looking good after the first day of competition.
Statesboro freshman Evan Avret was the only member of the Blue Devils team to advance to the state 6-A meet in Carrollton and Avret fired a 2-over 73 on Monday and is currently tied for eighth place overall.
Avret had the low score in the Area-2 tournament on a team that didn’t qualify for the state. Avret had some nerves on the first hole as he made a double bogey but rebounded with a birdie on the next hole and was pleased with his first ever state tournament appearance.
“I felt like I played well but I had to do a lot of scrambling,” said Avret. “I only hit one fairway on my first nine holes, but I shot 35. I started rough but I knew there were birdie chances out there and I needed to be patient. The greens here are really firm and I learned you have to land it short in order to get close. Without my teammates here it feels like an individual tournament, but I’m enjoying it so far."
"Despite not hitting a lot of fairways I felt like Evan played solid and consistent," said Statesboro coach Thomas Miller. "He really made some clutch shots when he had to. I told him he is playing against some of the best golfers in the state, and he has earned his place to compete right alongside of them. The course is tough, and the greens are fast, but we are looking forward to another great round tomorrow."
Georgia Southern signee Brantly Baker leads the 6-A individual scoring with a 3-under 68 in round one. Johns Creek is in first in the team competition as they shot a +7 round of 291.
The Portal girls are currently in third place in the Class-A state championship which is being held at Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee.
Shelby Clark leads the Panthers as she shot an 85 and Emily Marks chipped in with a 92 for a team total of 177. Emma Yates and Camille Saunders scored were not used but shot 110 and 122.
“We left some shots out there, but I am proud of their efforts on this tough course,” said Portal coach Joe Bettinger. “Lake Oconee has a big lead right now and have a senior who is signed with Penn State to play golf next year. This is also their home course so we have our work cut out for us, but we will continue to battle.”
Lake Oconee Academy is running away with first place as well as individual honors with Katie and Kelli Scheck firing a 73 and 79 for a team total of 152. Drew Charter is currently in second place three strokes ahead of the Lady Panthers.
The Southeast Bulloch boys and girls are currently competing in the Class-AAA state meet in Clarkesville GA. The girls are tied for 11th place and are playing at Apple Mountain Golf Club. The Jacket boys are at Cateechee Golf Club in nearby Hartwell GA and are in 10th place.
“This course was unlike anything we have seen all year for the boys and the girls,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Brent Osborne. “It is very hilly, and the drop offs are huge and makes judging distance very difficult when you aren’t used to that. We played a little better in the practice round, and with this round under their belt I am hoping our teams can make a run and climb up the leaderboard Tuesday.”
For the Jacket girls it’s been four years since they made the state tournament, while the guys haven’t made the postseason as a team in 12 years.
“The good thing is we are gaining experience,” said Osborne. “We have a pretty young team and a few of them have only been playing golf for a couple years. I am proud of the way they are battling, and our goal now is to see if we can fight our way into a top five finish.”
Hunter Thomspon led the way with a 90 while Will Nelson shot a 91. Westminster leads the team competition at +11 after a 295-team total. Harris Barth of Westminster leads the individual scoring with a round of 69.
Elsewhere the Metter boys are in third place in the Class-A Public. Georgia Southern signee Ian Glanton is currently in second place individually at +3 after a 75. Rylan Black of Lake Oconee Academy is first after a 73 on Monday.