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Bulldogs' Yang, Hawks' Burger square off at state

Stroke for stroke, they went and slugged it out at the Region 7-AAAAA golf tournament. They will be back at it again on Monday.

Mill Creek's Emilie Burger, the 7-AAAAA champion, and North Gwinnett's Louisa Yang, the defending Class AAAAA state champion, are two of the favorites for the individual state title at Monday's AAAAA state golf tournament at Jekyll Island.

Burger shot 1-under-par 71 at the region meet to edge Yang by a shot, and now the two are expected to vie for a state title along with Northview's Joy Kim at state.

"They're two of the best in the state," North coach John Payne said of Burger and Yang. "It's a very friendly rivalry. They're both extremely experienced golfers in tournament play, so they're very respectful of the traditions of golf. It's a fun competition (between those two)."

Burger and Yang have crossed paths at various junior tournaments in recent months, and they have played three times in high school golf this season. They split low medalist honors at the two regular-season matches, then Burger was victorious at region.

In the team competition, Yang and North have a better chance at a state crown thanks to a strong No. 2 golfer, Alicia Poole. North's trip to state got off to a later start than usual because prom was Saturday night, but the team left today with a clear goal of finishing first. Defending champion Northview may offer the biggest hurdle.

"Every year we've gotten closer and closer (to first)," Payne said. "I feel like we're one of the better teams. If we play our best, we'll have a chance to win it."

Region 8-AAAAA champion Parkview, led by 8-AAAAA medalist Amanda Xu, also competes Monday at Jekyll Island along with Brookwood.

The Brookwood, Parkview and Peachtree Ridge boys also play Monday at Jekyll. Brookwood won the 8-AAAAA boys title, while Peachtree Ridge was the 7-AAAAA champ.

The county's other golf teams that qualified for state will be scattered over the state on Monday. The Dacula girls play the AAAA tournament in Augusta, the Greater Atlanta Christian and Buford girls play the AA event at the Creek at Hard Labor and the Providence girls play the A tourney in Columbus.