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GSU course hosts Bulloch County championships
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Statesboro High's Ford Berger sinks a birdie putt on the first hole in a playoff to win against Bulloch Academy's Dalton NeSmith during Wednesday's Bulloch County Middle/High School golf championships at the Georgia Southern golf course.

    Area golf teams have braved the elements the past few weeks on the golf course. Wednesday finally saw sunshine and 80 degree temperatures, with little or no wind, ideal conditions for the second annual Bulloch County Championship which was held at the Georgia Southern golf course.

    Once again the Statesboro boys clinched the team title, firing a +13 team total of 157. Bulloch Academy placed second with a 188, and Southeast Bulloch came through with a 217. Portal only had three players in the field, while four scores counted,  and they combined for a 166.

    “We’ve played good this year,” said Statesboro coach David Elmore. “We have placed second in a few pretty big tournaments at some pretty tough places, that should only help us get better. Hats off to Marten Olsson and his crew for putting this event on. The course was great.”

    The boy’s individual low medalist was decided in a playoff as Statesboro’s Ford Berger tied Bulloch Academy’s Dalton NeSmith with matching 37s.

    On the first hole of the playoff — the par five ninth hole — NeSmith put his second shot under a tree just to the left of the green, while Beger sliced his second shot short and right of the hole. Berger lofted a perfect wedge toward the middle of green, that hit just on a ridge and rolled to within about seven feet of the hole.

    NeSmith’s shot hit a branch and ended up short of the green. He then chipped up to about 15 feet away, and drained the long putt for par. Berger then calmly sunk his uphill putt for a birdie and the win.

    “I didn’t play too bad today,” Berger said. “I shanked my second shot, but I was able to keep it together, made a good third shot, and was able to sink the putt for the win.”

    Mason Kleinlein was third — one stroke back — as he shot a 38. Southeast Bulloch was led by Elliot Perkins with a 49. Dax Reddick led the way for Portal with a 44.

    On the girls' side of things it was a successful defense for last year’s champs the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets who shot a 148. Statesboro High was second at 157.

    “We’ve been playing really well,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Amy Civalier. “We have really been focusing on getting better and getting ready to host the area playoffs here at Georgia Southern. It really is a benefit for us to play in tournament like conditions as it will help us prepare for next month’s tournament.”

    Low medalist honors on the girl’s side went to the lone female golfer at Bulloch Academy, as Abby Newton fired a 43. Southeast Bulloch’s Jade Hoyle finished second with a 48, Statesboro’s Sloan Aubrey finished third, one stroke back with a 49.

    “I felt like I struck the ball pretty well today, but had a few shots I’d like to have back,” Newton said. “The greens out here are a lot faster than I am used to, but I feel I was able to make adjustments and I’m happy with my score.”

    The Bulloch County middle school championship was held last week at Georgia Southern.

    The Bulloch Academy Gators took top honors on the boys side of things, while the Portal Panthers won the girls championship.

    Evan Avret of William James was boy's low medalist with a 41. Shelby Clark of Portal was the girl's low medalist with a 46.


"This was the third Bulloch County Middle and High School championship," GS Director of Golf Marten Olsson said. "It was the vision of Campus Recreation Director Gene Sherry for us to have an event for all Bulloch County schools and to make it a big deal. Youth golf in Bulloch County is growing. Four years ago, there were 60 middle and high school students playing. Through the efforts of school coaches and access to local courses, that number has almost doubled to 100-plus."