High School Sports

Columbus trailing, but in the mix for 3rd straight title at 40th Larry Gaither Hardaway Invitational

The approach for Columbus on Friday’s opening round at the 40th annual Larry Gaither Hardaway Invitational was to simply put itself into contention.

Under normal circumstances, the team that has won back-to-back titles at the tournament would have been gunning for another sizable lead like it built in the first round a year ago. In the wet and windy conditions at Bull Creek Golf Course Friday, though, coach Chris Parker told his team to just put itself in a position to make a run Saturday.

Mission accomplished.

The Blue Devils don’t have the lead after day one, but they are just four strokes back of Etowah and Marist, which tied at a team score of 292. Columbus notched a 296 with four of its five golfers carding scores below 80. Only the top four scores count toward the team score.

“The thing we did the best job of today was that we kept the ball in play and played, for the most part, clean rounds,” Parker said. “Not many penalty strokes, if any; not many three-putts. Probably a lot of pars on the scorecard today.”

He’s right on that account.

Daniel Davis led all Columbus High golfers with a 71. He bogeyed just one hole, birdied a pair and picked up par on the other 15. Stanton Schorr, Ben Womack and Ben Carr each parred 10 holes, and Nolan Miller parred nine. Miller was second on the team with a 1-over 73 for the day.

“I tried to tell them that on day one, you just can’t shoot yourself out of it,” Parker said. “For the most part, I think they all stuck to the game plan that we had set for them.”

Simply getting the round in was an accomplishment in Parker’s eyes. Heavy windstorms and a steady rain came through the area in the early afternoon, threatening the play of the afternoon group of teams, which were set to tee off at 2:45 p.m.

They were delayed just 15 minutes before teams teed off, and the round went off without incident.

Parker said that the conditions likely played a role in some difficulties for the players — breaking their routines and making putting a bit more difficult — but in the second round, players will likely be able to settle into more of a groove.

Etowah and Marist were in fine grooves for Friday’s round, too, though. Nick Budd shot a day-one-best 6-under 66 to take the early lead in the race for medalist honors. Marist had two golfers shoot below 70, with Braden Jones at 69 and Jack Warren at 68.

Davis had the best score of the day for local golfers at 71, but Brookstone’s Evans Copeland (73), Columbus’ Miller (73) and Northside’s Zac Shellnutt (74) all carded strong days as well.

The tournament’s final round will be played on Saturday.

Columbus and Brookstone, as part of the top 10 after Friday’s opening round, will tee off in the afternoon group at 1:30 p.m. Northside, Smiths Station, Harris County and Central will all play in the morning group, which tees off at 8:30 a.m.

2015 Hardaway Invitational

East Course, Bull Creek Golf Course

Par 72

1. Etowah (292)—N. Budd, 66; J. Haggerty, 78; C. Jensen, 71; G. Sanders, 82; G. Emery, 77.

1. Marist (292)—A. Lafferty, 73; B. Jones, 69; J. Warren, 68; J. Secret, 88; B. Sikes, 82.

3. Columbus (296)—B. Carr, 76; N. Miller, 73; S. Schorr, 76; B. Womack, 80; D. Davis, 71.

4.Woodward Academy (304)—G. Stradtman, 74; J. Lawson, 80; M. Kahlert, 74; C. Asarch, 85; J. Hewes, 76.

5. North Oconee (305)—A. Patel, 74; C. Dunlap, 75; W. Foust, 77; G. Britt, 87; C. Murphey, 79.

6. Tift County (307)—C. Collins, 77; G. Metts, 74; S. Tucker, 77; Z. Forshee, 79; C. Cottle, 84.

7. Woodstock (309)—K. Burns, 69; J. Burnett, 80; A. Burgess, 77; M. Bashaw, 83; B. Hunt, 87.

8. Trinity (311)—P. Williams, 80; G. Slater, 78; W. Ashmore, 76; W. Draper, 77; P. Williams, 81.

9. Holy Innocents’ (311)—S. Asbury, 77; J. Klopfenstein, 73; I. Thomas, 76; W. Cantrell, 89; M. Gates, 85.

10. Brookstone (312)—W. Hinds, 82; W. Reaves, 79; W. Gallitin, 82; E. Copeland, 73; L. Mullin, 78.

10. Newnan (312)—M. Matistic, 74; A. Sweatman, 73; T. Cook, 82; J. Ballard, 83.

12. Northside (316)—Z. Shellnutt, 74; J. Coffield, 81; D. Whittle, 87; D. Quinn, 77; K. Hodge, 84.

13. Tuscaloosa County (320)—P. Jones, 73; C. Holt, 74; D. Cameron, 84; N. Brown, 89.

14. Auburn (323)—W. Solomon, 81; G. Hall, 87; C. Hendley, 84; A. Norris, 79; J. McAlindon, 79.

15. Smiths Station (324)—T. Williams, 83; K. Hudson, 79; R. Dades, 84; J. McAdory, 78; S. Windsor, 100.

16. Northwest Whitfield (333)—E. Hayes, 81; T. Higgins, 79; A. Canady, 88; C. Lomax, 85; E. McBrayer, 89.

17. Riverwood (337)—K. Smith, 74; W. White, 82; Z. Sumlin, 85; A. Robert, 96.

18. Vidalia No. 1 (339)—C. Edwards, 76; T. McClellan, 90; B. Bellflower, 76; D. Chesser, 98; M. Lockley, 97.

19. Harris County (341)—K. Partridge, 85; A. Adams, 86; C. Wilkerson, 90; A. Hubbard, 90; L. Hardwick, 80.

20. White County (349)—G. Rowland, 74; B. Turner, 88; D. Moody, 82; B. Long, 107; C. Westmoreland, 105.

21. Central (374)—T. Bishop, 86; N. Parnell, 88; C. Renfroe, 100; H. Sanders, 100; D. Emmerson, 104.

22. Vidalia No. 2 (388)—B. Spivey, 99; H. Garvin, 94; B. Gourley, 95; B. Collins, 108; D. Plummer, 100.

23. Centennial (407)—J. Kurey, 84; B. Tailhaber, 94; G. Krick, 115; A. Reddy-Kother, 114.