Some of Columbia County’s golfers are enjoying a tremendous summer. Here’s a look at a couple of them:
The Lakeside High School rising senior has been on quite a run recently. In April, she fired 2-over-par 74 at Bartram Trail Golf Club to lead the Panthers to the AAAA girls state title. She then finished a respectable T8 at the 33rd Annual Georgia Girls Junior Championship in Buford.
Yi continued her solid play this past week at the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur Championship Qualifier in Alpharetta, Ga. There were 53 players in the field, battling for just five spots in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur.
Yi easily made the cut with an even-par 72. She finished tied for third, earning a spot in the field in this month’s U.S. Junior Girls Championship. The event will be held from July 16-23 at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif.
And, of course, she returns next season to try to lead Lakeside to another GHSA Title.
Megan Sabol of Martinez also played in the qualifier. She shot 77 to finish in a tie for 13th.
Dunagan captured a title that might go unnoticed by some, but this young man deserves some recognition. Dunagan, 14, won the 13-14 year old division at the Press Thornton Future Masters in Dothan, Ala. The youngster opened with a 1-under 69, good for a share of the lead with Anton Serafini.
In Round 2, Dunagan continued his steady play with 71, and once again he found himself with a share of the lead. During the final round, Dunagan managed a 72, which was plenty good enough on a very difficult layout at Dothan Country Club. His playing partner and overnight co-leader, Andy Mayhew, could only muster 77. Dunagan won by 4 shots.
This performance should give Dunagan plenty of confidence, especially when you consider some of the past champions at the prestigious event.
The victory was the biggest win in an already incredible few months for Dunagan. He has captured seven junior titles since Christmas.The best record in the event’s long history however, belongs to Augusta native Charles Howell. Howell burst onto the national golf scene by winning the 10-under age group at the event in 1989. He would follow that up by winning his age group in 1990, 1991 and 1992 as well, a feat no other competitor has equaled.
Dunagan and Howell are not the only local players to have success at the event. Former Augusta Prep golfers Clayton Boardman and Blake Hadden have fond memories from their trips to Dothan. Boardman won his age group in 2000, and Hadden made national headlines when he scored two aces during the 2007 event. Also, area native Scott Volpitto won the 13-14 year old age group in 1993, as he and Howell went back-to-back in the age division.
Finally, one other local player is worth a mention. A young man who went to Lakeside High School won the 10-under Division in 1992. His name? Charles Kelley. Yep, that Charles Kelley, of Lady Antebellum. He has since gone on to win six Grammy Awards.