Golf teams vie for state titles
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
May 19, 2013 12:55 AM | 1059 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Before the season wraps up, a few Cherokee County golf teams are still making bids for state titles.

The state tournaments across all six classifications will take place Monday at locations around Georgia.

The Creekview girls will compete in Class AAAAA at the Indian Mounds Course at Jekyll Island, while the Creekview boys will compete at the adjacent Pine Lakes Course.

In Class AAAAAA, the Etowah boys will compete at Spring Hill Country Club in Tifton, while the Etowah and Woodstock girls will compete at Sunset Country Club in Moultrie.

In many ways, it’s been a season unlike any other as sectional tournaments were added to the process of qualifying — pushing the state championships back into late May.

While none of the county’s coaches have complained about the new format — especially those who had the opportunity to compete for a state title because of the addition of sectionals — they see a few things that may need to be tweaked for the future.

Creekview girls coach Casey Gramling said two of his players had to reschedule final exams that were scheduled for Monday, while the other two — who will be graduating later in the week — have already completed their exams and have cases of “senioritis.”

“It’s been a big headache because all of the girls on my team are real serious about their studies,” Gramling said.

Claire Roop, a freshman, is ranked No. 1 in her class, while Meghan Nay is No. 6 in the sophomore class.

“They are missing finals to go down there on Monday, so it’s stressing them out to no end,” Gramling said. “Plus, my two seniors are done. It’s been really strange and we have had to move finals. I would much rather have it earlier in the year.”

Etowah’s girls coach Jamie Nelson said it has been chaotic getting the team ready to go.

“Luckily, I don’t have any seniors this year, so we haven’t had to deal with that,” he said. “But we have some girls working their schedule around finals.”

Most of the players traveled to their respective locations Saturday and tried to get in a little practice.

The Etowah boys, coached by Phil Dutko, were one such team. The Eagles practiced a round in Tifton on Saturday and hoped to get another in today.

Dutko said the players won’t have much use for their drivers.

“It’s very, very flat,” he said. “Not ever going down there, our goal is to definitely finish strong. A top-three finish would be nice.”

The Eagles played a tournament in south Georgia in February, and Dutko hopes the players remember what they learned.

“It was a similar style of course that helps prepare us for how it is down there,” Dutko said.

The Lady Eagles will get their first look at the Moultrie course in a practice round today. Some of the team traveled with their families Saturday, while the rest were driving this morning.

“It’s an older-style course,” Nelson said. “The greens are short, but like a lot of older courses, there are a lot of doglegs. I just don’t know a lot about it. They don’t have a website to map it out, so we will have to check it out for the first time (today) when we get down there.”

Tournament host Colquitt County won its region tournament and is the obvious favorite for the Class AAAAAA girls state title.

Gramling said a few of his players played the Indians Mounds course during spring break — with the hope they would see it again for the state tournament.

“They are kind of familiar with the course,” he said. “It should be a good tournament. If we play well, we have a chance to be in that top three.”

Frontrunners for the Class AAAAA girls title include Cambridge — which bested Creekview for the Region 7AAAAA title — and tournament host Glynn Academy.

“I think us and Gainesville are on that second tier,” Gramling said. “I think we have a chance to compete for third place. But you never know, they could go out and shoot the best rounds of their life and something crazy could happen.”

The Creekview boys haven’t played competitively since winning the Region 7AAAAA tournament a month ago and are eager to get to work on Jekyll Island.

Many of the players have the attitude of winning the state title for the seniors, and the goal is realistic. The Grizzlies have defeated some of the top teams in the state. In addition to winning the region title, they also won the Cherokee County title by beating Etowah.

“This might be our chance to bring a state title back to Creekview,” coach Jimmy Thigpen said.
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