The Statesboro boys and girls golf teams will be heading back to the Class AAAAA tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday in Peachtree City.
The Blue Devil boys placed third in the state last year, and enter the state tournament on the heels of winning their area tournament, which was held at the Okeefenokee Country Club in Blackshear.
The Blue Devils posted a team score of 312, which just happened to be the lowest area round turned in by all the teams that competed statewide in Class AAAAA.
“We return almost everyone from last year’s team, so our expectations are pretty high,” said Statesboro coach David Elmore. “I think we were a little complacent as a team in the middle of the year, but I think playing the way they did at the area tournament makes me feel they are ready for the challenge of the state.”
The players recognized that they haven’t been consistent this year, but are confident they are starting to play their best when it is most important.
“We started the season pretty good, but then we slipped up for a few weeks,” said sophomore Mason Kleinlein. “I think it was important to play well at the area, and I think it will help us as we return to state this weekend. Last year three of us were freshman, and I think we’ve all improved.”
“I feel we have a good shot at winning state,” said junior Ford Berger. “If we can make some good decisions on the course and learn from our mistakes I think we will do fine. I think we have learned that every stroke counts, and we need to pay attention during our practice rounds and learn what to do and what not to do on an unfamiliar golf course.”
The boys will be playing at Planterra Ridge Golf Club, and will tee off Monday beginning at 8 am.
For the Statesboro girls this marks their second straight state playoff appearance as well. The girls advanced last year as one of the top three schools in the area, but this year had to wait on an at large berth which came because of the fact that they shot a qualifying score, and there were so few schools statewide that managed to come in under 330.
“We played well enough to get a state playoff bid, but these girls are capable of doing much better,” said Statesboro coach Glenn Bailey. “The main thing we have tried to work on lately is putting on fast greens, which is what they will see at state. Mentally we need to get the girls to approach the state like they are at practice. To go out there and have some fun.”
Last year at the state competition the Blue Devils finished in the bottom half of the schools. This year their scores have been much lower, but they have yet to play in a tournament where all four players have posted consistent scores.
“I feel like having the experience of playing in the state tournament will really help us this year,” said Statesboro sophomore Sloan Aubrey. “We are ready for the wet conditions that may happen, like they did last year too. Last year I think a lot of us were nervous since it was the first time, but we are getting better and hopefully will be more calm.”
“We know a lot more what it means to be a team,” said sophomore Brooke Bennett. “Last year it was a totally new experience, and this time we kind of know better what to expect. The big thing we need to do is not let a bad hole let us down, we have to push forward and move on.”
“We really need to concentrate on course management,” said Statesboro sophomore Savannah Barefoot. “We need to try and stay out of trouble, and have a good attitude no matter how our round is going.”
The Statesboro girls will be playing at Braelinn Golf Club Monday morning starting at 8am.