All-Bi-City golf: Brookstone, Columbus sweep awards

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comJune 12, 2014 

The standards for the Brookstone boys golf team have become a little absurd. Not without reason, of course.

When a team wins four straight state championships, the expectation -- fair, or not -- is to go out and win another.

And while one season, probably sooner rather than later, that streak will end, this season wasn't the time.

The Cougars won their fifth straight state title in their first season under coach Hunter Chapman and their fourth featuring Georgia Tech signee James Clark. Meanwhile, sophomore Amy Clark and coach Chris Spraggins led the Columbus High girls to a Class AAAA state championship, finishing a job they nearly accomplished as runners-up in 2013.

For the efforts of those four, they have been named the All-Bi-City golfers and coaches of the year.

For Clark, it's kind of old hat.

He was the player of the year last season. He was also medalist at the state tournament, an honor he repeated this year. He was runner-up individually as a sophomore.

If Chapman didn't know better, he'd say coaching was easy.

"There's not a lot you can say," he said. "I can't imagine a more solid senior to have on my first team. It just makes things so much easier on me. He's obviously an incredible player, but he's just an incredible guy too. He's a great leader. He's like an assistant coach. It's crazy how much ownership he took. To be able to have that kind of player in my first year was just a gift."

Not that the title didn't come without its stressful moments. The course was a grind, and the team's No. 2 player, Jack Mize, was 5-over par through five holes. Chapman said it felt like it might not be their day. It was a testament, however, to their ability that they were able to grind out a tough win.

"It's a great way to cap things off," said Clark of his season, which featured a 71.3 scoring average. "To win four championships in four years, it's just an accomplishment for us. We lost a lot from last year and still found a way to make it happen."

The Columbus girls had a chip on their shoulder after coming up just short a year ago. They knew that the opportunity may not come again soon, given the fact they will lose a couple key seniors and move up to Class AAAAA next season.

Clark said they felt like it was now or never, and it paid off.

"It was about practicing every day," said Clark, who had a scoring average of 80. "My team, were just all committed. It was just the repetition and commitment to getting better."

They, too, had an interesting day at the state tournament.

Their victory came down to the last posted score of the day.

"When you win by two strokes, it's crazy," Spraggins said. "It just makes all the hard work worth it. They played together. They do things outside of golf together. It was just a pleasure for me."

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