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Golf tournament brings out best in locals

Posted: July 27, 2012 - 12:28pm  |  Updated: July 29, 2012 - 12:14am
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Jim Blaylock/staff during the second round of the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Invitational at Jones Creek Golf Club.
Jim Blaylock/staff during the second round of the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Invitational at Jones Creek Golf Club.

Though the field included a large contingent of players from outside the area, local golfers still made their mark last week at the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship at Jones Creek Golf Club.

The three-day, 54-hole American Junior Golf Association tournament, sponsored by TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, included some ranked players in the boys’ division, as well as 14-year-old Andy Zhang. Zhang played at the U.S. Open in June and was the youngest player in that event’s history.

It was Evans resident and Greenbrier High School senior David Hemann who made his presence known, however.

After the first day Tuesday, when he fired a 1-under par 71, Hemann was tied for fourth. A double-bogey on his final hole Wednesday marked a 4-over 76 and dropped him into a tie for 12th. Thursday, he posted a round-low 4-under par 68 and finished second overall.

He finished eight strokes behind Connor Smith from Birmingham, Ala., who led wire-to-wire.

The tournament was Hemann’s first AJGA event.

“This is the first big tournament I’ve played,” Hemann said after his round Wednesday. “And with all the college coaches around it’s a little bit nerve-wracking. It’s definitely a different experience. I’ve talked to a couple of coaches, but definitely have not verbally committed anywhere, but I do want to play college golf.”

Among others, schools in attendance included Augusta State University, Johnson & Wales University, Kennesaw State University and the University of Georgia.

Lakeside High School’s Emmanuel Kountakis also was strong. He was 3-over after the first two days and finished that way after an even round on Thursday and ended tied for eighth place.

In the girls’ division, McKenzie Talbert of North Augusta led the first two days, but August Kim of St. Augustine, Fla., shot 5-under on the final day to deadlock them at 4-over. Kim won the tournament in sudden death, sinking a par putt on No. 10 while Talbert bogeyed the hole.

Augusta Christian’s Sarah Harrison started slowly and was 19-over after two days. She rebounded the final day, shooting a 4-over, finishing tied for 11th at 23-over.

Franklin Perhonish of Evans finished at 14-over for the tournament in 35th place. Like Harrison, Kevin Steinmeyer of Evans had a rough first two days, so his 4-over on Thursday left him at 31 over for the tournament at No. 70.

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