Payne Kassinger had faith that he could win a state title.
Golfer Payne Kassinger is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
So did his coach, Jay Gilstrap.
When it came time to tee off in the Class AAAA state golf tournament at the Golf Club of Columbus, the Lakeside senior was as focused as he'd ever been.
"He knew what he wanted to do," Gilstrap said. "I am very proud of Payne. He went out there and was 100 percent focused. He had goals and intentions. You could just tell by looking at him during our practice rounds. He wanted to prove that he could win the title."
The senior shot a 2-under-par 69 to win the first individual state championship at Lakeside since 1999.
"It was exciting," Kas-singer said. "I worked very hard to get to that point, so it felt very rewarding."
The Lakeside golf team finished second, one stroke behind state champion Etowah, in the tournament that was held May 9.
It was the fourth straight season that the Panthers have finished in the top 10 in the state, after a third-place finish last season. It also was the best finish for the team since Lakeside won the state title in 1999, Gilstrap said.
"We really wanted to win the team title," Kassinger said. "We've been close a number of years and we were a little disappointed because we thought we could win. But it is still good that we were so close."
Gilstrap said that Kas-singer, along with the six other seniors on the team, will be sorely missed next season.
"I believe we are at the point in our program where we don't have to rebuild," Gilstrap said. "Hopefully, we just reload."
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