LaGrange golf wraps another successful season

Published 8:30 am Saturday, May 25, 2024

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With the GHSA 4A state championship tournaments wrapped up, so is the LaGrange High golf season. The boys and girls saw their magnificent seasons come to an end on Tuesday with the boys finishing in sixth place and the girls finishing in 11th.

“Overall, I think everybody in our staff and everybody in the program would be pleased with this season,” LaGrange head coach Ben Thrasher said. “There are aspects that we wished we could have done better, but overall we are happy with the progress we made this year.”

The Grangers did not have to travel halfway across the state or play in horrid conditions like the rainy weather they had to battle through at state last season. 

For the first time ever, LaGrange High played host to the two tournaments with the boys playing at Highlands Country Club and the girls taking to The Fields. It was a warm, but beautiful two days on the links in LaGrange.

“We needed the weather to cooperate. And it certainly did and it was awesome weather for golf, even if it was a little on the hot side both days,” Thrasher said. “But thankfully it wasn’t raining like last year’s State Championship.

“I think all the teams were really pleased with both courses, and I can’t ask for much nicer situations.”

Day one conditions were tough and scores were higher than expected, especially at Highlands 

“Both courses played tough but fair,” Thrasher said. “Highlands in particular was tough on that first day.

“If you look at the scores, up and down the board, everybody had a bad day in their opinion,” Thrasher said. “North Oconee was in second place after day one and were 40 shots over the season average.”

The Grangers battled the conditions with sophomore Caroline Brown proving the standout on the girl’s side. She shot a combined 209 over both days and led the team with the lowest score on each day.

“I’m really proud and excited for Caroline Brown to go out and be the team leader,” Thrasher said. “Caroline works really, really hard, and it’s good to see her hard work come to fruition and be rewarded for her hard work by shooting the team’s best score over the two-day span.”

Junior Hudson Wood was second on the team, shooting 223 across the two days. Sophomore Katie Hale excelled with a 107 on day one before shooting a 123 on day two. 

The boys were led by senior Ty Ormsby, who shot a combined 158 at state.

Sophomore Hugh Kersey continued his hot play to end the season by shooting 163. Saxon Chastain was second on the team with a 159. 

Sophomore Charlie Pitts broke 80 for the first time all season with a 79 round on Tuesday.

“I was so pleased to see that he bounced back and was able to break 80 for the first time,” Thrasher said.

The end of a season means that it’s the end of more than a few golf careers in blue and white. Ormsby and Woodham wrapped their final seasons with the boy’s squad while Carlee Roland was the lone senior who was a part of the five-girl rotation at the top of the lineup.

“Carlee has brought a real competitive edge to our lineup, she is just a super-talented athlete,” Thrasher said. “Both the guys are essentially four-year starters for us. In the last month and a half, Ty played probably the best golf in our program.

“Ben is often quiet, but he is a real leader for us.”

The program also had to bid goodbye to some other key Grangers. Hunt McAteer, Lola Grace Johnston and Mallie Crawford all served as key figures on the team.

“They might not have played in as many tournaments as they would have liked, but they all brought such positive attitudes and were real assets to our program,” Thrasher said. 

One name stood out above the rest when it came to keeping everything running seamlessly. While Jamarion Wilkerson might not have been on the courses, putting together low cards, his impact on the program was immense and Thrasher is left dumbfounded on how he will replace the Granger grad.

“I can’t express just how valuable he was to our program, he was like an extension of our coaching staff,” Thrasher said. “He is so valuable to our program and our staff from helping us logistically with running errands and helping us with our fundraising and talking to the people in the community. He was kind of like our graduate assistant but as a student. I honestly have no idea how we are going to replace him next year.”

Next season will be full of unknowns. LaGrange will be dropping down to 3A with new competition lurking.

“It really is a big unknown right now,” Thrasher said. “Of the 12 teams playing in the 4A championship, only one of them will be around us next year and that is Trinity Christian, who beat us to win the Area tournament, but we beat them at state. It is going to be completely new for us next season.”