Augusta Preparatory Day School golf team members Clayton Boardman, Jefferson Knox, Rob Bennett and Alexander Abate weren't interested in working their way up the ladder.
The young Cavaliers were convinced they had the talent to go all the way to the top in 2003.
"We were pretty confident coming into this year," Knox said of the mind-set that separated Prep from its opponents this season.
Early in the campaign, Bennett confided in Coach Bill Fowler, and the freshman didn't beat around the bush.
'I want to dominate high school golf," Bennett said.
It's not bragging if you can back it up.
"I thought we could," Bennett said of his statement, which turned out to be right on the mark - just like his golf shots.
Bennett and Knox led the Cavs to the Region 4-AAA crown, and at the Georgia Independent Schools Association state tournament, another Augusta Prep freshman joined the fun.
After a practice round at Stonebridge Country Club in Albany, Clayton Boardman told Fowler, "I like this course. I think I can shoot a low number."
As it turned out, Boardman loved the state layout, firing a 6-under par 66 to secure medalist honors. Knox, Bennett and Abate added solid scores to help Augusta Prep clinch the GISA Class AAA championship.
"No one expected a team with freshmen and sophomores to do much," said Abate, a sophomore. "A lot of guys from Episcopal Day School came to Prep, and I'm glad they came, or we wouldn't have had much of a golf team."
Some observers discounted the Augusta Prep golf team this season. The Cavaliers were supposed to be biding their time, waiting for their shot at a state title.
The wait is over.
Knox, Boardman and Bennett may be freshmen, but they have grown up playing golf at Augusta Country Club, and they've worked hard on their games. Like his teammates, Abate spends hours practicing, and the Jones Creek Golf Club member hones his competitive edge by playing an extensive schedule of junior tournaments.
The fab four at Augusta Prep already has reached the summit of high school golf, and they might not be coming down any time soon.
"They are awesome golfers," Fowler said. "They hit it extremely long, and they have very controlled ball flights. They aren't cocky. What is impressive to me is how composed these young players are."
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