Golf: Johns Creek leads group of champions looking to repeat

Westminster senior Harris Barth leads the Wildcats into the state championships. Westminster is looking for its fourth straight title. (Photo - Kate Awtrey)

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Westminster senior Harris Barth leads the Wildcats into the state championships. Westminster is looking for its fourth straight title. (Photo - Kate Awtrey)

Eight classifications up for grabs for boys and girls teams

The Johns Creek boys will try to win a sixth straight state title when the GHSA golf championships begin Monday at sites scattered throughout the state.

Marist (2012-16) and Brookstone (2010-14) are the last boys programs to win five consecutive state championships. Brookstone won six straight from 1982-87.

Each tournament is a two-day, 36-hole affair. The field in the Class 5A-7A tournaments are made up of the top two finishers in each area tournament and the top four teams at a sectional tournament. The other classifications are made up of the top four teams in the area tournaments.

Class 7A

Boys – Chattahoochee Golf Club, Gainesville: Milton is the defending champion and has a deep lineup capable of repeating. The Eagles, with No. 1 player Mason Fundingsland, had five players shoot better than 74. But Gainesville -- led by Ryan Davidson, Henry Kopydlowski and Brigham Ralston -- has equal depth with and has the advantage of playing on their home course. Alpharetta, Walton, Mill Creek and Walton should also be in the mix.

Girls – Chimney Oaks Golf Club, Homer: Lambert is aiming for its third straight state champions and has the depth to get the job done. Averi Cline is a two-time defending state champion and teams up with Iris Cao and Sara Im to do it again. Im just won the GSGA Top 60 Women’s Classic over the weekend in a playoff. But the Longhorns will have their hands full with Walton and possibly Lowndes or North Gwinnett.

Class 6A

Boys – Jekyll Island (Pine Lakes): Johns Creek has won five straight championships but brings a very young team that hasn’t been tested on this level. Tennessee signee Bruce Murphy leads a very young team, The Gladiators beat Cambridge -- led by Patrick Burns and Jamison Bryant -- by two shots and will be challenged by the Bears, Buford and Glynn Academy.

Girls – Jekyll Island (Indian Mounds): Johns Creek has three girls who scored in the 70s at the area tournament – Ella York, Jocelyn Zeng and Genevieve Wu. Others in the mix should be defending champion Creekview, Glynn Academy and North Atlanta.

Glynn Academy

Class 5A

Boys -- Okefenokee Country Club, Blackshear: St. Pius is the defending champion and won its area title, but the Golden Lions aren’t likely to repeat without the presence of No. 1 player Carter Loflin, who is in the match-play portion of the U.S. Four-Ball Championship and won’t be in competing. That leaves the favored teams as Northgate, Harris County, Cartersville and Wayne County.

Girls -- Okefenokee Country Club, Blackshear: Woodward Academy has won three straight championships but doesn’t have the depth to go with the talented Aly Francis. It might be a battle between rivals Blessed Trinity and St. Pius, along with Ware County and Starr’s Mill, who all have the necessary depth.

Class 4A

Boys – Houston Lake Country Club, Perry: Defending champion North Oconee, with recent U.S. Open local qualifier Luke Koenig in the lineup, is the favorite. But Perry brings a talented team and has plenty of experience on the host course. Columbus could also make a challenge.

Girls – Healy Pointe Country Club, Macon: North Oconee won, led by Camryn Wright, the title in 2021 and has a chance to go back-to-back. Columbus, Marist and Northwest Whitfield should all challenge for the championship.

Class 3A

Boys – Bartram Trail Golf Club, Evans: Westminster is loaded and is favored to win its fourth straight championship. William Love and reigning Georgia Amateur champion Harris Barth lead the Wildcats, who won the area title by 23 shots. Columbus, Lafayette and Richmond Academy should also be in the mix.

Girls – Belle Meade Country Club, Thomson: White County won the title a year ago and brings good depth. But White County finished third in its area tournament and has work to do in order to repeat. Westminster has two of the best players in the classification in Jessy Young and Kyra Dube, but must have a good showing by a third girl. Pierce County, North Hall and Oconee County all have to depth to win the championship.

Class 2A

Boys – Southern Hills Golf Club, Hawkinsville: Defending champion Lovett is in position to win it again. The Lions have the best depth in the classification, but will need to hold off rival Pace Academy and Rabun County to win another title. Other contenders include Vidalia and Bremen.

Girls – Southern Landings Golf Club, Warner Robins: Lovett is the defending champion and the Lions should be in contention again. But this classification is wide open and could be taken by the likes of Elbert County, which beat Lovett by a shot at the area tournament, Gordon Central, Jeff Davis, or possibly Bleckley County.

Class A Public

Boys – Georgia Southern University Golf Course, Statesboro: Defending champion Lake Oconee Academy is favored to make it two straight because of its superior depth. Seminole County, Metter and Drew Charter are others to watch.

Girls – Willow Lake Golf Club, Metter: Lake Oconee Academy is the team to beat and win its fourth straight championship behind Kelli Scheck and Georgia Bosart. The Titans have four players who can shoot under 90. Portal and Drew Charter are the other primary contenders.

Class A Private

Boys – Dogwood Golf Club, Austell: Prince Avenue Christian is talented enough to compete in any classification and is the big favorite. The Wolverines had three players shoot in the 60s at the area tournament. Stratford Academy, Savannah Christian, Brookstone, Holy Innocents’ and Hebron Christian will be there in case Prince Avenue stumbles.

Girls – Governor’s Towne Club, Acworth: Holy Innocents’ is the defending champion, but hasn’t found a second scorer to go with Haven Ward and isn’t expected to contend. Teams with two good players include Walker, Darlington, Brookstone and Savannah Christian, led by Drive, Chip and Putt contender Mary Miller. The individual to watch is freshman Ther Kotchasanmanee from Darlington, who shot 63 at the area tournament.