With the 2006 golf season wrapping up regular season play, Columbia County teams are preparing for a new competition.
Lakeside High School and West Lake Country Club will play host to the Columbia County Shootout at 3:30 p.m. Monday.
The one-day golf tournament will feature all four of the county's public school teams - Lakeside, Evans, Greenbrier and Harlem.
Lakeside coach Jay Gilstrap said the shootout is a new concept in the Columbia County golf schedule.
"This is the first year we've done it," he said. "We wanted to bring everybody together and see who's the best in the county on that day."
Lakeside secured West Lake as its home course this year, and club golf professional Lincoln Blackman spoke with Gilstrap about the idea of a countywide tournament.
Area coaches were enthusiastic about the concept.
"I think it's a great opportunity. We've got the girls and the guys going out there," Harlem golf coach Kim Chambers said. "We're excited especially because we normally don't get to play that course."
Harlem has experienced an up-and-down season so far. Bulldog junior Scott Lord leads a boys team that recently earned a 25-stroke win over Jefferson County and Washington County this past Monday.
Both Lakeside and Greenbrier have battled through the season with only one senior each. The Panther underclassmen are led by sophomore Charlie Cason and freshman Brian Carter, while the Wolfpack boast senior Chris Hall, junior Michael Barman and sophomore Eric Patterson.
Lakeside defeated Greenbrier by six strokes Wednesday afternoon at Bartram Trail. Lakeside's Tom Hardy led all scores with an 18-hole total of 76.
Evans has won its region championship each of the past three years. This season, senior H.B. Chavous leads a team that beat both Greenbrier and Lakeside in separate matches two weeks ago.
Greenbrier coach Stephen Inman said all the area golfers are playing for bragging rights in a new tournament that throws all four teams together.
"The kids are excited to play each other," he said. "It's a good match. When you have four schools, it's more like a tournament atmosphere."
Both Gilstrap and Inman said they hope the shootout will become an annual event with each school taking turns as the host.
As for this first Columbia County Shootout, the coaches said they hope the public will enjoy the event as much as the golfers.
"We definitely encourage anyone to come out and watch," he said. "This is the future of golf in the county, and we want to highlight that. It's always nice to have the public get involved."
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