The Brookstone boys golf team holds itself to a high standard.
That standard only gets higher with each passing year, as the previous three have ended in Class A state championships. That’s the only realistic goal for this team, which could make it an even four titles in four years for its seniors when it plays in the state tournament on Monday at Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Ga.
“I’ve been around the boys enough to know that they hold themselves to pretty high expectations,” said coach Trace Copeland. “We’ve had some tournaments where we went in as a favorite, but you just never know. Even their bad days are pretty good, though.”
That’s an encouraging thought as the Cougars will, indeed, enter the Class A private tournament as the favorite.
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The team is led by Parker Derby, who has signed to play at Georgia, and James Clark, who has committed to Georgia Tech. The group managed a 294 to win the regional tournament and qualify for state.
Copeland said it is a confident bunch right now.
“They’re coming in with a lot of confidence in the way they’re playing now and the fact they’ve won three years in a row,” she said.
There will be challengers, of course. Aquinas and First Presbyterian both shot under 300 in the sectional, and Mount Paran Christian qualified with a 303 in the regional.
“Those are some great teams,” Copeland said.
The Brookstone girls, who also won their regional tournament with a team score of 167, will play in the state tournament at Crosswinds Golf Club in Savannah. The Lady Cougars are trying for their first state win since 2007.
The Columbus boys are looking to get back on top of the mountain after failing to win a state title in 2012. They will go for their third in four years at the Dalton Golf and Country Club in Dalton.
Led by senior Charlie Flowers, the team is prepared to make that return, coach Chris Parker said.
“I think the biggest difference between this year and last is that we’re a lot more mature,” he said. “We’ve had more success in the regular season, winning several tournaments, so we know we can do it.”
The team has played particularly well over the past six weeks, Parker said. Of the past six, the Blue Devils have won three and took second once. They won their regional by 28 strokes, shooting a 297 to clinch a spot at state.
“I feel good,” Parker said of his team’s chances. “Not anxious about it at all. I know we’ll play well. It’s just a question of playing well enough in just a one-round tournament to finish first. There are four or five other really good teams.”
He’s referring to Richmond Academy, Marist and Spalding, to name a few, he said. Those three each shot low rounds at their regional tournaments and should push Columbus for the top prize.
The Columbus girls will play at the Class AAAA girls tournament at Nob North Golf Course in Cohutta. The Lady Blue Devils qualified with a 261 at their regional tournament.
They are going for their first state title since 2006, when they won their second in a row.
The Northside boys aren’t favored to win it all at Pine Lakes Golf Course on Jekyll Island, but coach John Drew said the expectations are still high.
“We’re capable,” he said. “If our guys play their best, we surely have a shot.”
The team is led by Trent Nobles, who was the low medalist at the regional, and Zac Shellnutt, who was runner-up.
Drew said he expects those two to shoot well, but they will need help from some of the others.
There are a handful of key contenders for the tournament, led perhaps by Gainesville, which won a state title in Class AAA in 2012.
“We’ve got a good group, so we’re excited,” Drew said. “It’s just going to take us playing our best for one round.”
The Northside girls team, which finished second in the region tournament, is playing Monday at Indian Mounds at Jekyll Island.
Pacelli won’t send a full team to state for either boys or girls, but Sarah Grace Drop will participate in the girls Class A private event.
Drop shot an 88 at the sectional event to qualify for the tournament, which will be played at Crosswinds Golf Club in Savannah.
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.