Granger Classic another big success

Published 10:30 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The fourth annual Granger Classic was another roaring success as the three-day tournament went off without a hitch from Thursday to Saturday. What makes this event so special is not only the fact that high schoolers are competing on 54 holes over three days but the fact that it’s three different courses as well. The tournament was at Callaway Gardens for the first two days — the Lakeview course on Thursday and the Mountainview course on Friday — before heading to LaGrange High’s home course, the Highlands Country Club.

The Northgate Vikings captured first place against a loaded field, but the hometown LaGrange High team also had a strong showing. After shooting a 308 on day one, a respectable score but good enough to tie for 13th place out of 15 teams. The Grangers needed a strong Friday to qualify for match play on Saturday and got just that. The team shot 303 — tied with Northgate for the lowest score of the day to move up to sixth place and qualify for the weekend.

“In the last two years, we’ve won three or four tournaments. We’ve won the Upson-Lee tournament four years in a row now, but considering the teams that played in this tournament, the format of this tournament, and the conditions that we played in, I would say this is by far the best team golf we’ve played in my five years here.” Thrasher said. “It’s just a great testament to the guys and their work ethic and how far they’ve come and how hard they’ve worked to get to where they’re at.”

The Vikings love a trip to Troup County and have had strong showings in just about every tournament they have competed in that has been hosted by the Grangers.

“They have won this tournament two out of the last three years and are just a great group of guys and we love having them,” Thrasher said. 

Sophomore Saxon Chastain has been a steady hand for the Grangers so far this season and shot 78 and 76 over the first two days and was the only member of the team to win his quarterfinal matchup against Lowndes in match play.

Senior Ty Ormsby knows how to flip the switch for tournament play and shot a combined 149, tied for the lowest on the team across the first two days. He shot 75 the first day before shooting a 74 in swirling winds to finish seventh lowest individual on Friday.

“He’s really done a great job of playing focused tournament golf for us and it’s great to see him do that his senior year,” Thrasher said.

Fellow senior Ben Woodham has been on a tear lately. After overcoming some early season struggles, Woodham has put together a strong final run with the Grangers culminating in the 149 he shot on Thursday and Friday which was tied with Ornsby for the lowest on the team. He leads the team with a 73 on the first day before shooting a 76 on Friday.

“In the last two and a half tournaments, really two and three quarters, he’s played lights out tournament golf. I’m not real sure what happened,” Thrasher said. “I think he started getting confidence in his putter. I think that was the first thing that helped and he’s really started keeping all the shots in play. Early in the year, he was struggling to keep anything in play.”

This was a chance for LaGrange to compete against some of the best teams in the state as the team is less than a month out from the area tournament. If the Grangers can build on how they have played lately, it might be an unprecedented final month for the team.

The Grangers have a few more tune-up tournaments before competing in the area tournament on May 6 which will be hosted by Highland Country Club. The top three teams from each area qualify for the state tournament. 

LaGrange finished second in the area a season ago and are favorite to win the area this year. The 4A state tournament will also be on their home turf as Highlands is set to host that as well.

“It doesn’t really matter where you finish in the area, whether it’s one, two or three in the area for us. As long as we get the state we have a chance,” Thrasher said. “So now obviously, we want to win, we want to win every time we compete. That’s our mindset.”