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Newton's golf teams set sights on making state

COVINGTON - Even though Newton's golf teams are young, both the boys and girls teams have valuable experience.

First-year head coach Gus Condon is hoping that his four returning seniors will use their experience to show the younger players how to get to state and continue Newton's tradition.

Seniors Landen Cheek and Ashley Anthony provide the experience, along two other seniors, Payton Bundy and Adrienne Kitchens.

"Landen definitely brings leadership to the table and he can help out with some of the younger guys. With his previous experience in the region and on certain courses, he gives good insight to the rest of the team," Condon said. "He can also help out as far as helping out at practice. He's definitely a valuable player for us.

"Ashley went to state last year and she has experience. Just having her around and being able to share her experiences on how things work, as far as certain courses and how to play a shot. They have good leadership."

The Newton girls are hoping to return to the Class AAAAA state tournament at Jekyll Island, while Cheek is looking for his third Region 2-AAAAA individual championship. As a freshman, Cheek finished as the region runner-up.

"I'd like to win the individual region," Cheek said. "I think I've got a good chance."

While Cheek has a good chance of going to state as individual, if the Rams want to go as a team, they must maintain their competitive edge. Condon feels that the best way to reach their ultimate goal is to practice their short games and on the greens.

"We'd like to be competitive in every match; we'd like to compete in the region and have a shot at going to state. We've got a lot of young guys and we want to send the older guys out on a good note," Condon said. "I think the main concentration and goal we have is to get better. We have to work on our short game and putting. We have kids that are pretty decent off the tee and can hit their irons fairly well. But I'd say short game is the biggest thing we have to work on."

Playing for the boys are seniors George Clackum, Colby Westbrook and Gavin Bowman, sophomores Paige Morgan and Warren Inge and freshmen Joshua Williams and Daniel Owens.

"Landen and Payton are our strong points, then it's a toss-up," Condon said. "We've got a lot of guys that are really first time golfers. Paige Morgan is doing a good job, he's coming along. We're just trying to get better everyday."

Joining Anthony and Kitchens on the links for the girls are Lydia Mikula and Brianna Williams.

"Lydia is a first-timer and Brianna has been involved in golf. She has a real nice swing and we look for some good things from her," Condon said. "Our girls can be real competitive in the region and go to state. I think the girls can do real well."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

· Teams: Newton golf

· Coach: Gus Condon

· Last year: Newton boys finished third in Region 2-AAAAA, girls placed second in 2-AAAAA and finished 16th in Class AAAAA state tournament

· Next match: March 12 vs. Union Grove at The Oaks