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GOLF: Local teams seek improvement early on

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It’s still early enough in the season where golfers are battling the incoming nightfall more than their opponents.

But coaches are already seeing improvements with their teams every time they hit the course.

Pepperell, Coosa and Gordon Central battled in a three-team match Wednesday afternoon at Stonebridge Golf Course. The Warriors placed first with a score of 200, while Pepperell scored 201 and Coosa scored 225.

While each school had girls take to the course as well, the early onset of darkness ended their round without a complete score.

Still, the day served as another opportunity for the young players on each team to see where their game is at the moment.

“It is still a time where we are trying to find where everyone’s position is,” Pepperell coach Brian Henderson said. “I liked the scores today, especially with the conditions being a little sloppy due to the rain the other day.”

Gordon Central led with a score of 48 from Stanton Walker, a score of 49 from Jordan Hardin and a 52 from Isaac McEntyre.

Pepperell notched a 47 from Connor Chandler, a 49 from Hunter Chastain and a 52 from Ben Robinson.

Coosa finished third as a team, but Dawson Tate finished first individually with a score of 46. Behind him, Caleb Ray scored a 51, Griffin Goss scored a 58 and Lathe Spivey scored a 70. Tate displayed a whole range of skills, especially showing off prowess with his short game. While other golfers around him struggled to get out of sand traps and the rough, Tate avoided most hazards for a clean round.

For Coosa coach Robert Cummings, the most impressive thing from Tate came on the ninth hole, when Tate had to take a score of 10.

While it certainly was not the end to the round Tate wanted, he remained calm and collected.

“It shows a lot about how far he has come in the last few years as far as dealing with adversities,” Cummings said. “He is a real dedicated player when it comes to golf.”

Henderson has a couple of golfers who are new to the team this season, so teaching is the most important thing to him at the moment. He wants those new faces to just feel things out in these early matches and become as familiar with each course as they can.

Helping Henderson with those goals was the new GHSA rule that allows coaches to instruct their golfers on individual holes.

The Pepperell coach was excited about the new rule, especially with the potential talent he sees with his club.

“The fact that we can provide assistance on any particular shot, when we couldn’t do that in years past, its making a difference,” Henderson said. “Whether it is helping them read a putt or just helping them stay out of trouble, that’s been a big deal.”

Pepperell and Coosa face off again next Monday at Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Cedartown, and Coosa has another match at Stonebridge next Wednesday against Model. The girls and boys area tournaments take place at the beginning of May.

But those tournaments are still far ahead, and the need for improvement remains the main concern for most coaches.

“It is early, and we have already seen this team improve the scores since our first practice,” Cummings said. “We are just going to use today as a learning tool and keep hoping to improve.”