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Panthers wilt in second round; George County takes 4A title

It was a team effort. The George County Rebels played steadygolf and captured the Class 4A State Tournament championshipWednesday at the Brookhaven Country Club.

The Rebels shot a 2-round total of 306-313–619 to beatrunner-up St. Stanislaus by 5 strokes. Brookhaven collapsed afterleading the tournament by 1 stroke after the first round and woundup tied for third with Terry at 629.

The host Panthers had led George County 305-306 entering thesecond round. They struggled on a warm, breezy day and posted a324.

BHS golf coach Steve Huey said it was a matter of tournamentpressure. “I call it nerves. They’ve never been this close before,”to winning state.

Huey loses only one member of his squad in senior Cody Jordan.The returnees can look forward to next year.

Junior Grant McDonnieal led Brookhaven Wednesday with a 76 aftershooting a 70 Tuesday. He was fourth in the medalist race.

McDonnieal was followed by Austin Mills at 77-84-161, PhillipHammond at 82-81–163, Brandt Hinton at 82-83–165 and Jordan at76-90–166.

“We won our division tournament and that was a first,” saidHuey. “I think we finished seventh last year in the statetournament.”

Terry, the defending state champion, rebounded from a 322 thefirst day to finish 15 strokes better at 307. The Bulldogs were ledby Drew Dulaney who shot 71-70-141 for runner-up medalisthonors.

Oxford’s Greg Gowen won the overall medalist title with roundsof 68-69—137, leaving him 3 strokes under par. He has signed agolf scholarship with the University of South Alabama.

“I played well today but struggled at the beginning,” saidGowen. “I strung some birdies together,” on the 13th, 14th and 15thholes and No. 17.

Gowen, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander with blue eyes andblond hair, smiled when he was asked about the BCC layout. “Ienjoyed the course. It’s a good layout. The wind wasn’t as bad aslast year.”

Third place in the medalist race went to James Wahl of St.Stanislaus. He shot 73-72–145.

George County coach Charles Darwin exchanged hugs and handshakesbetween hoops and hollers as his Rebels celebrated thechampionship. He loses 1 senior in Josh McMullan who shot75-80–155.

“I have six or seven who can play,” said Darwin. “They pushedeach other all year long. I told our guys last night that we havethe best team here, not the best individual.

“Our No. 4 guy (Blaine Henderson) posted the best scores andhe’s a freshman.” Henderson shot 74-75–149.

Darwin said the Brookhaven Country Club, PGA professional andgeneral manager Ronny Ross and his staff should be commended.”Ronny Ross did a tremendous job hosting it,” for a second straightyear. “We really enjoyed it.”