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State golf tourney comes to Gwinnett

Photo by Christine Troyke

Photo by Christine Troyke

For years, the trip to Jekyll Island for the Class AAAAA state golf tournament was spun as a reward.

It was a trip to the beach to play on a nice course and have a weekend away. But for teams from Gwinnett County, the trip became a slight burden.

“There are some good and some bad (things to the tournament down there),” said Brookwood head golf coach Steve Thompson, whose boys team has played in the last six state tournaments. “(This year) I don’t have the hassle of trying to find hotel rooms, working in the extra practice rounds and the larger expense. There are some good and some bad with it.”

STATE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

A look at local teams and players in Monday’s state golf state tournaments.

Class AAAAA boys

at Summit Chase Country Club

Snellville

Norcross

Mill Creek

Grayson

Brookwood

North Gwinnett’s Bailey Ulp

Parkview’s Ted Moon

Class AAAAA girls

Monroe Golf and Country Club

Monroe

Grayson

Brookwood

Mill Creek

Collins Hill

Dacula’s Kiersten Nowell

Duluth’s Kim Sally

Boys Class AA

The Creek at Hard Labor Park

Rutledge

GAC’s Spencer Coackely

Girls Class AA

Long Shadow Golf Course

Madison

GAC

Buford’s Aly Hicks

Girls A

Bull Creek Golf Club — East Course

Columbus

Hebron

Wesleyan

Boys A

Green Island Golf Club

Columbus

Wesleyan

The bad is mostly the trip. The Peachtree Ridge boys, who went to five straight state tournaments, always rented a house for the weekend, making the trip as much reward as competition.

But last year, the AAAAA tournament moved farther north to Reynolds Plantation, where teams from this area didn’t have the same travel demands. And this year, the boys tournament comes to Summit Chase in Gwinnett County and the Class AAAAA girls tournament is at the Monroe Country Club.

The GHSA or one of its representatives approached the individual courses about hosting the weekend event.

“We are absolutely proud to host (the tournament),” said Summit Chase General Manager Don Britt. “To get the players from all of AAAAA, it is an honor.”

In the past few years the tournaments have been moving to other locations across the state and Thompson, whose Broncos along with Grayson use Summit Chase as a home course was also involved in setting the Georgia High School Athletic Association up with Monroe Golf and Country Club for the girls tournament.

Keith Tanner, the head golf professional at Monroe said he was happy to host the event for the first time.

“We had the date open and I thought it would be good exposure for our golf course to get people from all over to play it,” he said. “I think they’ll like it. It’s a pretty fair course.”

Practice rounds were scheduled over the weekend for teams to prepare for the 18-hole championship round Monday.

In the girls tournament, defending team champion Collins Hill is back with its state champion Lauren Court. There are also three teams — Norcross, Grayson and Brookwood — who have both the boys and girls in action Monday at the same time.

It gives coaches like Thompson a chance to be close to both teams and close to home.

And for the Broncos’ boys, it is actually at their home course. For a team with four seniors to play its final match at home is a unique experience.

“I think it’s real special for these senior boys,” Thompson said. “All of them have been in the program for four years. I think it’s pretty special for them to be able to play at home.”