Riley Grant picks North Georgia to continue golf career

LaFayette senior Riley Grant signed paperwork on Friday to continue his golf career at the University of North Georgia. Also on hand for the ceremony was Angie, Chip and Carter Grant and LaFayette head golf coach Tom Langford.

Riley Grant had already been seriously considering attending the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega when his LaFayette High School golf team made the drive to the northeast Georgia mountains for a tournament there back in March.

There, with the eyes of the UNG golf brass on him, Grant further introduced himself with a sparkling 67 at the Achasta Golf Club, the Nighthawks' own home course.

Eight months later, Grant signed a letter of intent to tee it up for UNG in front of family and friends.

"That (round) helped for sure," the senior explained. "It made me really happy to do that because North Georgia has kind of been my dream school. It was really good timing for that to happen and to boost what's coming in the future."

Grant said he loved everything about the Nighthawks' program.

"I love the coaches and the team," he began. "It feels like home when I'm there and it really fits me well. The team's full of really great guys and I really felt welcomed there. I just love the environment and it's just a great program all the way around.

"Hopefully I'll be able to bring a competitive edge that just sets the program apart from other schools and I think my work ethic and competitiveness will help too."

Grant has been a major contributor for the Ramblers since his freshman year when he shot a 76 to help his team win the Nob North Invitational. He went on to card a 79 at state.

As a sophomore, he had rounds of 79 and 74 to tie for 10th place individually at the Carrollton Trojan Invitational and he followed up with rounds of 75 and 70 at Carrollton this past season. He had a 76 in the Athens Classic at the University of Georgia and a 76 at the area tournament as LaFayette placed third overall.

He also once shot a 29 for nine holes in a practice round at the LaFayette Golf Course and he is currently ranked seventh, academically, in his class.

"North Georgia knows what kind of player they're getting," LaFayette head coach Tom Langford said. "He's solid. His game is just good all the way around, but probably the best thing Riley does is that he just grinds and competes. He doesn't let one bad hole or one bad swing keep him down. He knows how to bounce back. There have been days where he has struggled off the tee and you think he's going to struggle all day and he still finds a way to shoot a good score."

For Grant, who began playing golf in elementary school, signing a golf scholarship is the culmination of a dream.

"This day means a lot to me, especially with all the ways my family has supported me," he added. "It just means a lot to finally make my dream come true and to make my family proud."

Grant says he is considering business management or computer science as a major.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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