LaGrange set to host one of the most prestigious high school golf tournaments in the state

Published 8:30 am Thursday, April 11, 2024

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One of the largest and most competitive high school golf tournaments is returning to the area as LaGrange High hosts the LaGrange Toyota Invitational from Thursday to Saturday. The tournament features some of the top teams in the state every year and 2024 is no exception.

“Benedictine is one of the top teams in the state, Gainesville is the same way and Northgate is probably top two or three in 5A,” LaGrange coach Ben Thrasher said. “Prince Avenue is top 10 in the state. Smiths Station is one of the top 10 or 15 teams in the state of Alabama and Harris County was a top two or three team in 5A last year and they are always good.”

With top-ranked teams coming to the area, top-ranked individuals will be in town as well. Some of the very best high school golfers in the state will be playing in the tournament over the next three days. 

“Anybody that wants to see some of the top young golfers in the state this is a chance to do so,” Thrasher said. “I guarantee at least three or four of the guys playing that will be big names at the next level and who knows how many of these guys will be playing on the PGA tour someday.”

Three days and three different courses are in store for the 15 teams competing. The tournament will open at Callaway Gardens for the first two days of competition the Lakeview course up first followed by the Mountainview course on Friday. For the lucky eight that qualify for the quarterfinals, a date with Hillside awaits on Saturday.

“Callaway Gardens has always been one of Georgia’s biggest destination courses and it used to host a PGA event there, so it’s well known, but this is a unique tournament because we play three different courses in three days which is something most of these players don’t experience until college,” Thrasher said. “Hillside is a private course, so most of these guys won’t be able to play it normally, but I believe it is one of the best courses in West Georgia.”

LaGrange has never made it to the weekend before in this tournament. It’s a goal that Thrasher and the team have set for themselves this year.

“I don’t know if there is a magic number we have to hit but I imagine we will have to shoot 305 to 310 both days,” Thrasher said. “The main thing is eliminating the big numbers. We have a group that knows how to play tournament golf. They’ve played in tournaments against good competition already this year so I expect them to go out there and play how they normally play.”

The conditions could be all over the place during the three days which plays into nobody’s hands. 

LaGrange’s lineup could see some changes throughout the tournament. The top four spots — Saxon Chastain, Ben Woodham, Ty Ormsby and Hugh Kersey — are set in stone but the fifth spot could see three different golfers compete if the Grangers make it to the weekend. William Petrus is set to play Thursday with Charlie Pitts potentially playing on Friday for the Grangers. 

If LaGrange makes it to the weekend, Grady Westmoreland will be a part of the lineup. Westmoreland is a member of the baseball team so he rarely gets to play with the team in the spring, but is a real asset for the program when he gets on any course.

“If we make it to Saturday it will be the first time we have Grady play with us this year and that’s a real weapon for us to have,” Thrasher said.