If his junior season at Kell High School is any indication, Michael Hines is solid on the links.
The rising senior golfer, who was low medalist in the Class AAAA state tournament, along with several Lassiter starters who led the Trojans to a Region 5AAAAA title are among a field of 89 golfers who will take part in the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier today at the Marietta Country Club.
Each golfer will play 18 holes, and the top 27 finishers will play an extra round for five spots and two alternate positions in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championships, which take place July 18-23 in Bremerton, Wash.
Marietta Country Club is one of 62 qualifying sites nationwide.
Based on the low numbers Hines has produced as of late, he is a top-five contender, which would easily give him a berth into the next round. The long course at Marietta Country Club could work to his advantage. Hines wrapped up a storied season by shooting a 5-under par 67 in the state tournament. He was the Region 5AAAA champion with a 71 and won the Eagle Watch Classic with a 72. He also broke 40 in every nine-hole match this season.
His recent success stemmed from accuracy off the tee box and shooting par or lower on most holes.
"There's nothing that's really stood out," said Hines, who was named this year's Marietta Daily Journal Golfer of the Year. "I've just been consistent. I played a practice round (at Marietta Country Club) on Saturday, and they had it set up long and I hit the ball long. The longer the course, (the more) it takes out some of the shorter hitters. And that's a big advantage to me. The rough is going to be thick. But if you can keep it in the fairway, you'll be able to shoot some good scores."
Hines began his summer by placing 12th at an AJGA Tournament in Rome and is coming off a third place showing at the Georgia Junior Championship in Augusta last week.
Lassiter's Max Weyrick, Michael Toler, Brody Judd and Adam Wright are also in the running for a spot in the U.S. Junior Amateur. The foursome helped guide the Trojans to an eighth place finish at state after winning region with Weyrick, Toler and Wright each firing a 79.
Weyrick, a rising junior, is the most experienced of the four, averaged in the upper 70s for the Trojans this season and shot a 75 at region to lead the team at region.
Rising Mount Paran Christian sophomore Tyler Young is also in the field after coming off a stellar freshman year with the Eagles. He shot 73 to lead Mount Paran to a Region 6A title.
Ty Hampel of Whitefield is also competing in the qualifier along with Walton's David Yowell and Kennesaw Mountain's Cole Hunsucker.