County golfers could challenge at state levelBy CHRIS GOLTERMANN
For the first time in history, the Georgia High School Association is bringing the state’s best varsity players to the heart of golf country with 10 championship events scheduled for Monday in Augusta.
But Coweta’s top high school players have a chance of making plenty of noise in Class AAAAA and AAAA tournaments.
The Vikings, who shot a season-best 299 to win a Region 3-AAAA championship, are peaking at the right time while led by senior Connor Edwards. It was the top region score posted by Class AAAA qualifiers heading into Monday’s boys tournament at Jones Creek Golf Club.
“That’s as good as we’ve played all year,” said Edwards, who signed a scholarship Monday with Reinhardt University’s program. “We’ve pretty much all been (to state) before. I think after we get a couple of practice rounds in we should be pretty comfortable.”
Both Edwards and senior Payton Usher are coming off rounds of 74 at the 3-AAAA tournament while making a return to state after an eighth-place finish last season. Paden Harvey and Camron Lowery also scored in last year’s tournament and will be joined Monday by junior Conner Usher.
“If things go like they did (at region) we stand a good chance,” Viking head coach Skip Seagraves said. “We’ve just got to put it all together like we did before. It just takes four out of six and we’re capable.”
The Vikings, however, expect to be challenged by Lakeside-Evans’ 2-AAAA championship lineup which benefited from hosting its region tournament at Jones Creek. Lakeside fired a 307 while led by low medalist Emmanuel Kountakis’ par round of 72.
Johns Creek won the 7-AAAA tournament with a 302 and could also challenge.
In Class AAAAA, Lady Indians standout Ji Eun Baik is poised to improve on last year’s fourth-place effort at the state level. Baik’s impressive round of 71 at the Region 2-AAAAA tournament led both genders while also the top qualifying round among girls in the state.
Baik travels to Westlake Country Club for the AAAAA girls state tournament while joining her East Coweta teammates and Newnan freshman Haley Luna.
Both Newnan and East Coweta boys teams will play its state tournament at Augusta’s Champions Retreat Golf Club after finishing one-two in the Region 2-AAAAA event. Cougars senior Trevor Smith will be playing in his final varsity event before moving on to Coastal Georgia on a golf scholarship. Smith finished as the 2-AAAAA low medalist with a 75.
Newnan’s qualifying round of 311 was seventh among the 16 qualifying teams in Class AAAAA.