The Grizzlies, who won the county championship earlier this season, shot 319 as a team and advanced directly to the Class AAAAA state tournament, which will be held a month from now in Jekyll Island.
Cambridge (325) was second, with Kell (329) third. Pope (340) finished fourth, but will not be going to the sectional after failing to produce a score below the qualifying mark of 330.
Creekview’s Jared O’Kelley might have saved his team. The Cincinnati-bound senior shot 41 on the front nine after a double bogey on No. 6, but he rebounded with a 33 on the back nine to finish with 74 and medalist honors.
His score was three strokes better than any other golfer.
O’Kelley, who also won the county championship, said he never felt like he was out of the hunt. On the sixth hole, his ball hit a stick laying on fairway and ricocheted out of bounds. He was forced to take a penalty on the hole.
“You have got to have confidence to play good,” O’Kelley said. “Really, the front wasn’t that bad. It was just a bad break. So, I knew I was playing good, and that if I could swing with confidence, anything was possible. Luckily, I was able to do that.”
Creekview coach Jimmy Thigpen said O’Kelley has had an outstanding year.
“He was county champ, and now he’s region champ,” Thigpen said. “He has a very, very bright future ahead of him.”
Scores were high all day. Six players who shot over a 54 on the front nine were cut at the turn. No one made the par of 72.
Creekview could have put up an even better team score, had one of its golfers not been disqualified. Marshal Richards, who made the turn with a 38 and finished at 79, was disqualified for using his cell phone during the round.
Thigpen said Richards sent a couple of text messages to his father, who was out of town and unable to attend the tournament. Thigpen said the player learned an important lesson and, fortunately, it didn’t cost Creekview its trip to the state tournament.
Thigpen said he will be collecting cell phones and texting updates to parents from now on.
“We had an unfortunate disqualification, but, hopefully, the lesson has been learned,” he said. “We aren’t going to make the same mistake again in Jekyll Island, when we are down there for state.”
Kell’s Mark Decoster finished second on the individual leaderboard. Cambridge’s Ryan Stachler, Powers and Riverwood’s Sam Popky each shot 78 to tie for third.
The top finisher not on a team advancing to the sectional advances, too, which means Popky will get another shot May 6 at Westlake Country Club in Martinez.
Sequoyah shot 343 to place fifth, followed by Riverwood (347) and Northview (367). Sprayberry shot 369, which was good for eight, with North Springs (392) ninth. Osborne and Forsyth Central did not have enough golfers finish to produce a team score.