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Forest Heights hosts GSGA junior championship
Three Bulloch County golfers advanced to the finals of the 59th GSGA Junior boys' championship at Forest Heights County Club. Left-Right Grant Odom, Griffin Garvin and Evan Avret.

Summer is usually a busy time for golf courses throughout the country. Many junior players are playing in tournaments and this week Forest Heights Country Club was the site for the Georgia State Golf Association's 59th annual Junior Championship.

The field saw 144 junior golfers play a three-day event starting Monday with a cut held Tuesday, and the finals on Wednesday. Three Bulloch County golfers were in the field and all three made the cut with Griffin Garvin coming up one shot short as Frederick Chappell of Bogart GA taking medalist honors at -4 for the tournament.

Garvin made a clutch birdie on the 18th hole putting the pressure on Chappel who managed to get up and down from the bunker on 18 for par to claim the victory.  Afterward Garvin reflected on what will be his final competition as a junior golfer before heading to college at Army West Point in a couple weeks.

“It was awesome to be out here once again feeling some pressure on the home course,” Garvin said. “It was great to have a lot of people out there watching. I thought I played well, but just fell one shot short of getting into a playoff. This has been a special place and I am glad I was able to finish with a couple of my good friends here with me.”

Those friends were Evan Avret and Grant Odom who are also members of Forest Heights. Odom will be a sophomore at Bulloch Academy and Avret has one more SJGT junior tournament to play before heading off to play collegiately at Centre College in Kentucky in August.

“It was a tough week for me as far as ball striking,” Avret said. “I was still able to hang in there thanks to the tournament being here at Forest Heights where I know how to get around. Overall, I feel good about where I am at as I hope to clean up a few things before my last tournament and I head off to college.”

Avret made the cut Tuesday with a birdie on 18 and finished with a 76 on Sunday. Odom fired a 77 Sunday and has a busy summer ahead, including playing in the Future Masters in Dothan Alabama next week.

“This was really the first tournament I have played this summer where things haven’t gone the way I planned for it to,” Odom said. “I feel like overall the summer has gone well. I have been striking the ball well and I am excited about the next couple tournaments I have to try and bounce back from this week.”

The 144-player event was put on by the Georgia State Golf Association who host tournaments throughout Georgia. GSGA director of rules and competition Richard Adams was pleased with the way the tournament was run and was happy they were able to return to Statesboro to play at Forest Heights.

“The club here at Forest Heights is so accommodating and easy to work with, so we love stopping here,” Adams said. “The course was set up fair yet challenging and I feel like I’m not surprised by some of the top players finishing around the top of the leader board.”

The top eight players in the field this week qualify for next month’s Georgia vs. South Carolina junior Challenge match which will be held at Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee.

 “This is the 49th year of this match which makes it the oldest of it’s kind in the country,” Adams said. “PGA Tour Pros like Davis Love, Russell Henley and Brian Harman all played in this event and I feel like players feel like it’s an honor to be on the team and have a lot of fun playing.”