Columbus wins 1st Hardaway Invitational in team history

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerApril 13, 2013 

In 20 years, Columbus golf coach Chris Parker had never missed a round of his teams’ competition.

That changed on Saturday when he missed the second round of the Larry Gaither Hardaway Invitational to attend the Masters. His team fared alright in his absence.

The Blue Devils, who came into the second round tied for the lead, pulled away for a 12-stroke victory at the Fort Benning Golf Course. It was Columbus’ first team victory in the 38-year history of the tournament.

“I can’t put into words how proud I am of them,” Parker said via telephone from Augusta.

Parker said that he has lifetime badges to the Masters and makes the trip with his son every year. It was a trip he couldn't miss. Still, though, his team was on his mind the whole day.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about them today," he said.

The Blue Devils shot a combined 299 on Saturday for a two-day total of 604, will ahead of second-place Etowah and third-place Brookstone. Stanton Schorr led the way on the weekend with an even-par 72, followed by Will Johnson’s 74. Both shot 149 for the tournament and were among the top overall scorers.

“We’re proud to be on the first Columbus team to win here,” Johnson said. “I shot pretty consistent today, and everyone else did their part. I’m really proud of all our guys.”

All four golfers, Johnson, Schorr, Charlie Flowers and Patrick Edwards, shot in the 70s on both days, one of just two teams to do so.

“I thought we were really consistent,” Schorr echoed.

The win at the Hardaway Invitational is the Blue Devils’ second in their past three tournaments. Schorr said that it can be a source of momentum heading into regional, sectional and state play.

“We’re really catching our stride,” he said. “We started slow this year, but we’re starting to play a lot better.”

“We’ve played well the last two weeks,” Parker said. “This is where we expect to play. It’s always satisfying when you do what you’re capable of.”

Brookstone, which came into the second round tied for the lead, shot 312 on Saturday to tie with North Oconee for third place. It was awarded the third-place trophy via tiebreaker. The Cougars came into the tournament attempting to be the first repeat champion since Glynn Academy in 2005.

Top golfers Parker Derby and James Clark shot 75 and 76, respectively. Derby said it wasn’t his best tournament, but that the team is starting to play better golf than it did earlier in the season.

“I didn’t play my best today,” said Derby, who had the top individual score in the 2012 tournament. “Things are getting better, though. Obviously we’re disappointed we couldn’t win, but hopefully we can keep getting better going forward.”

For the second straight day, Derby opened 2-over through four holes, but birdied Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 10 to go to 2-under. He shot 5-over for the final eight holes to finish 3-over for the round.

Oglethorpe County’s Nathan Mallonee shot 2-under in the second round after a first-round 74 to finish even for the tournament and claim individual medalist honors.

Northside finished the tournament in 12th, Central in the 13th and Smiths Station in 18th. Hardaway, the hosts, finished in 21st.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.


1. Columbus (604)—Johnson 75-74-149, Schorr 77-72-149, Flowers 76-76-152, Edwards 77-77-154

2. Etowah No. 1 (616)—Budd 74-76-150, Cross 73-78-151, Haggerty 79-78-157, Forbes 79-79-158

3. Brookstone (617)—Derby 74-75-149, J. Clark 74-76-150, M. Clark 78-78-156, Mize 79-83-162

3. North Oconee (617)—Mackey 74-71-145, Brown 77-73-150, Saxon 83-74-157, Verner 82-82-165

5. Oglethorpe Co. (627)—Mallonee 74-70-144, O’Byran 79-76-155, Beatty 79-81-160, Giles 76-92-168

6. Milton (628)—Kipniss 72-81-153, Ellison 77-77-154, Berg 87-73-160, Shapiro 84-77-161

7. White Co. (633)—Rowland 71-76-147, Crumley 74-77-151, Stack 76-82-158, Adams 87-90-177

8. Tift Co. (636)—Flynt 75-72-147, Gore 76-76-152, Metts 86-81-167, Forshee 84-86-170

9. Veterans (650)—Spears 79-75-154, Allen 81-79-160, Millwood 84-83-167, Hinson 84-85-169

10. Etowah No. 2 (654)—Hammaker 80-81-161, Kirkpatrick 81-81-162, Colley 79-85-164, Sanders 85-82-167

11. Tuscaloosa Co. (656)—Allen 78-83-161, Baker 85-79-164, Hankins 80-84-164, Jones 82-85-167

12. Northside (657)—Nobles 81-78-159, Shellnutt 80-82-162, Wilson 80-83-163, Dupre 82-91-173

13. Central (675)—Welsch 79-73-152, Smith 79-88-167, Beegle 81-92-173, Bishop 91-92-183

14. Valdosta (681)—Alakulppi 74-73-147, Dallas 78-76-154, Haynes 89-89-178, Wilson 97-105-202

15. Thomas C.C. (698)—Denton 87-81-168, Budzinsky 88-84-172, Taylor 93-84-177, Tillman 91-90-181

16. Chilton Co. (700)—Knight 77-74-151, Watley 80-82-162, Lightsy 87-85-165, Hay 121-94-215

17. Northside W.R. (720)—DeFoor 87-86-173, Hines 87-90-177, Chastain 90-88-178, Couillard 95-97-192

18. Smiths Station (738)—Williams 84-91-175, Hudson 87-97-184, Dades 93-95-188, Riney 96-95-191

19. Northview (744)—Oskin 84-92-176, Kim 93-93-186, Boudonris 94-95-189, Templet 97-96-193

20. Centennial (762)—Sylvester 74-74-148, Kelley 101-88-189, Golden 101-103, 204, Lavinder 109-112-221

21. Hardaway (764)—Bailey 79-86-165, Brown 86-103-189, Meadows 89-113-202, Haymond 103-105-208

22. Houston Co. (765)—Hefner 81-78-159, Speir 85-93-178, Howard 104-97-201, Alexander 113-114-227

23. Shaw (777)—Willis 84-92-176, Sadler 100-92-192, Frullaney 100-96-196, Davis 95-118-213

24. Warner Robins (788)—Kim 88-88-176, Saunders 101-94-195, Usher 104-96-200, Priser 108-109-217

25. Metter (817)—Dekle 95-95-190, Aldrich 92-100-192, Candlin 111-104-215, McPaul 94-126-220

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