Columbus golfers proved rude hosts to their guests Friday in the opening round of the 39th Larry Gaither Hardaway Invitational Golf Tournament at Bull Creek Golf Course.
When the first 18 holes of the 36-hole event were completed, Columbus High School's golfers' 290-stroke total represented a 12-stroke lead over their closest competitors, also from Columbus. Brookstone High and Northside High are tied in second place at 302.
Eighteen other teams are in the competition, but North Oconee (305), Milton (306) and Auburn High (310) are the only other teams within 20 strokes of the lead.
Hardaway Golf Coach Alex Davis, organizer of the annual event founded by in 1976 by retired longtime coach Larry Gaither, said the local three local teams in or near the lead played well on their home turf.
"It doesn't surprise me that Columbus High shot as well as it did, or that all three teams did so well on their home course here at Bull Creek," said Davis. "Tomorrow, all three will be paired with North Oconee, which is going to provide a good test, to see if they can complete what they've started."
"Columbus has a good lead, but anything can happen. Even the 305 team has an outside chance, I believe."
The lowest score of the day also was provided by a Columbus golfer. Zac Shellnutt of Northside carded a 68 on the par-72 East Course. His bogey-free round included four birdies and placed him two ahead of North Oconee golfer David Mackey and Auburn's Patrick Harris for the medalist trophy.
"I made a lot of good putts, no three-putts and had a couple of nice up-and-downs," said the 17-year-old Shellnutt. "It was just a steady round; I didn't do anything wrong."
The Northside junior said his lowest round of the season was recorded just a couple of weeks ago when he shot 66 in the Muscogee County Invitational Tournament at Maple Ridge Golf Course. The teams will tee off at 10 a.m. today in a shotgun start, again playing the East Course at Bull Creek.
The tournament was fortunate to be able to tee it up at all on the course that sits astride Bull Creek. Greens Superintendent Steve Brown said the course took on almost five inches of rain Sunday and Monday and is a major drainage source for much of Harris County, parts of which received about 6 inches of rain.
Several fairways were completely flooded as late as Wednesday, as the course on a major watershed fulfilled its function and held back water that would have flooded south Columbus without that intervention, said Brown.
"The course wasn't even passable until yesterday, and there was lots of debris to be cleaned up,' he said.
2014 LARRY GAITHER Hardaway Invitational
East Course, Bull Creek Golf Course
Columbus High School (290) - Stanton Schorr, 72; Ben Womack, 72; Daniel Davis, 73; Nolan Miller, 73
Brookstone High School (302) - James Clark, 71; Mercer Clark, 75; Jack Mize, 76; Connor Todd, 80.
Northside High School (302) - Zac Shellnutt, 68; Trent Nobles, 74; Kyle Wilson, 76; Jordan Coffield, 84.
North Oconee High School, Bogart, Ga. (305) - David Mackey, 70; Akshay Patel, 75; Davis Verner, 79; Chris Dunlap, 81.
Milton (Ga.) High School (306) - Dawson Kipniss, 74; Steven Schlenke, 74; Erik Grahek,75; Andrew Coffey, 83.
Auburn (Ala( High School (310) - Patrick Harris, 70; Addison Nix, 74; Jay Pitt, 80; Derrick Bass, 86.
Newnan (Ga.) High School (311) - Carson Vaughn, 73; Max Matistic, 75; Jordan Henry, 78; Preston Wise, 85.
Tift County (Ga.) High School (320) - Camden Collins, 75; Ty Gore, 78; Brant Metts, 78; Zach Forshee, 89.
Kell High School, Marietta, Ga. (322) - Matthew Hines, 79; Mark Decoster, 81; Ryan Hines, 81; P.J.Varner, 81.
Etowah County High School, Cherokee, Ga. (326) - Jake Haggerty, 72; Nick Budd, 75; Garret Sanders, 89; Shay Fu, 90.
LaFayette (Ga.) High School (330) - Dylan Stansell, 78; Kurt Ingram, 80; Keaton Stanfield, 84; Josh James, 88.
White County (Ga.) High School (331) - Garrett Rowland, 74; Steven Stack, 83; Brennan Dougherty, 84; Brynnan Adams, 90.
Northwest Whitfield County (Ga.) High School (333) - Chad Flanders, 78; Ethan Hayes, 80; Tyler Clayton, 87; Chandler Lomax, 88.
North Atlanta High Schoool (336) - Jackson Perkins, 80; Taylor Walstrum, 84; Turner Hume, 86; Winston Meshad, 86.
Trinity High School I, Montgomery, Ala. (341) - Pat Williams, 84; Wagner Ashmore, 85; Griffin Slater, 85; Davis Logan, 87.
Vidalia (Ga.) High School (346) - Avery Washinger, 81; Taylor McClellan, 87; Myles Lockley, 88; Chase Edwards, 90.
Veterans High School, Kathleen, Ga. (347) - Cole Hinson, 75; Jordan Schnee, 85; Austin Millwood, 86; Bradley Rudziak, 101.
Central High School, Phenix City (355) - Drew Welsch, 83; Chase Abbott, 89; Tyler Bishop, 91; Jeremy Dunnivan, 92.
Smiths Station (Ala.) High School (355) - Russell Dades, 79; Tyler Williams, 85; Kyle Hudson, 91; Nick Riney, 100.
Trinity II High School, Montgomery (364) - Clay Waters, 84; Phelps Williams, 86; Will Holmes, 95; Parker Chase, 99.
Hardaway High School (384) - Dawson Plummer, 91; Kenneth McPhaul, 93; Jackson Brown, 99; Mason Meadows, 101.