The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) held its golf state championships on various courses over a two-round period that concluded May 21, and three school brought home team titles.
Westminster’s boys' team secured its second consecutive Class 3A title and 10th overall at the Cateechee Golf Club in Hartwell. The Wildcats posted an overall team score of 13-under-par, which was the only mark in the red in the entire competition, 45 strokes ahead of second-place Lovett. Westminster’s winning margin is the largest in GHSA history for a two-day state tournament.
Westminster's William Love won the individual title with a score of nine-under par followed by teammate Sam Lape, who was second overall at five-under. Other top-10 finishers for the Wildcats included Harris Barth in fifth, Walker McPhail in seventh along with Cole Bergman and David Dickey tying for ninth.
“Our state championship preparation began the day after the area tournament,” Westminster boys’ head coach Andrew Dunn said. “We had two weeks to prepare for the state tournament, often talking about how the course will play and different pin locations of the course. When we arrived for our practice rounds, the boys felt very comfortable at the course. We were very prepared to play Cateechee and held a meeting the night before the first round to discuss how we would play each hole. We knew exactly which club we would play at each hole and discussed the areas we wanted to play our second shots from.”
The Wildcats’ preparation paid off with a team score of six-under after the first round May 20 and led the team competition by 24 shots.
“The guys were very positive and happy with their rounds, but felt we still left a lot of strokes on the course,” Dunn said. “The second day began and we had a plan in place to put ourselves in a great position to start the round. We had another meeting to discuss the new pin locations for day two, how we would attack the course and play with a lead.”
Westminster had a strong second day and cruised to the state title.
“We played a very good round two, limiting our mistakes and getting off to a fast start.,” Dunn said. “The boys knew the course was easier on the front nine, so we got off to a hot start and did not stop. William made the turn at four-under while Sam was at two-under par and Cole and Harris both at two-over. During the round, I spoke to each player about sticking to the game plan and playing how we discussed during our meetings. The game plan worked and the boys played well on the back nine.”
Each Westminster golfer made the all-state first team accept for Bergman, who was an honorable mention. Lape was named the Class 3A Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats won a record-setting eight tournaments with four individual medalists and three runners-up.
“We had a lot of fun this season and played great golf,” Dunn said. “We broke almost every record in Westminster golf history. The boys kept their focus all season long and kept their goals within reach.”
Lovett placed second in the team competition at plus-56. Lions golfer Robert Ghirardini was third individually at plus-one and teammate Luke Ferrara was tied for ninth.
Westminster golfer Ashley Jian was fifth in the Class 3A girls’ individual competition won by Tori Owens of Murray County. The tournament was held at Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course in Elberton.
The Woodward girls’ team won its second consecutive state title and seventh overall in the Class 4A competition held at Maple Ridge in Columbus. The War Eagles’ team score of 24-over was four strokes better than second-place finisher Columbus. Marist was fifth in the team competition. Woodward’s top individual golfer was Ayanna Habeel, who finished tied for fifth at seven-over, four strokes behind winner Madeleine Krueger of Columbus.
St. Pius X boys’ team won its first state championship in program history with the Class 4A title at the Country Club of Columbus. The Golden Lions' final team score was eight-over, which was eight strokes better than second-place North Oconee. Woodward’s team finished tied for fifth. St. Pius X's Carter Loflin placed second in the individual competition with a score of three-under, which was only one shot behind Columbus’ Jonathan Parker. Woodward’s Aren Patel was third at two-under and Marist’s Matthew Larkin was tied for fifth at one-over.
The Class A Private tournament was held at Green Island Country Club in Columbus. The Atlanta International School girls’ team was third in its competition with a score of 27-over, 10 strokes behind winner Darlington. Eagles golfer Meghna Grover was second in the individual competition with a mark of five-over, only two strokes behind state champion Meredith Bennett of Athens Academy.
The boys’ competition came down to the wire with Holy Innocents’ placing second at 19-over along with Brookstone. Christian Heritage’s score of 17-over proved to be the winning mark. Golden Bears golfer Cannon Crane finished tied for second overall individually with a score of two-under, only one stroke behind winner Lindsey Cordell of Darlington.