Lakeside High School's boys golf team claimed its second straight state championship with a 14-stroke win on Monday at the Class AAAA boys golf state championship tournament at Bartram Trail Golf Club.
The Panthers, who won the state title last year, did it again by surviving cold temperatures and brutal wind gusts that frustrated the other 15 teams from across Georgia.
"Conditions were definitely tougher than they've been the past couple of days," Lakeside junior Tom Hardy said. "Coming into the tournament I was expecting a 280 or 285 would win. That wasn't going to happen today."
Lakeside's team score of 294 was six strokes over par but 14 strokes better than any other team. Sophomore Brian Carter earned the title of low medalist by shooting the only subpar round of the tournament. His two-under par 70 came thanks to a chip-in for eagle on his final hole of the day from 40 yards out.
"I landed it just a foot onto the green and it rolled all the way in," he said. "I really needed that one."
More than just another state championship, the Lakeside win avenged a loss to Richmond Academy in the Region 3-AAAA Tournament. The Panthers tied for second with Greenbrier in the region tournament held in Statesboro, and advanced to the state tournament only after winning a one-hole playoff.
Lakeside boys golf coach Jay Gilstrap said the idea of sitting one stroke away from not even competing in the state tournament was a rallying point for his team.
"I think that's what might have helped us," he said. "When we won that playoff I knew we had a good shot at winning state again."
The Panthers' state title bid looked strong early in the day after the team held a nine-stroke lead through the first nine holes. Carter was the first to finish with his subpar round, and Hardy followed with a score of 77. By the time senior Trevor Balliet finished his round at even par, the possibility of another Lakeside state title looked inevitable.
"It's the spirit of this team," Panther junior Graham White said. "We stick together and win as a team. That's what made the difference."
Along with Carter, Hardy, Balliet and White, juniors John Faulkner (75) and Charlie Cason (82) also contributed to the win.
St. Pius X took second place in the one-day tournament with a score of 308. Richmond Academy tied with Marist for third place at 309.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.