CONYERS - The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least as far as golf's version of the Conyers Cup is concerned.
The Heritage boys and Rockdale girls are in the lead after the opening round of the 2008 Conyers Cup on Monday. Those two squads leading the pack shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since both are looking to pad winning streaks in the event. The Patriots are shooting for their fifth straight title, while the Lady Bulldogs are chasing their fourth consecutive crown.
In the boys match, the difference was Heritage freshman Harrison Elliott, who was the only golfer on Salem's home course at Highland Golf Club to break 40 with a 38.
"The difference was Heritage had one kid that went low," Salem boys coach Chad Estes said. "If you look at the scores everybody is kind of fairly even, except Heritage had the one guy go low; and that's what you've got to do. You have to have someone go low (to win)."
Bennett Mitchell followed with a 42, Brett Whitmire added a 43 and Robby Kalland finished with a 44, giving the Patriots a team score of 167 and an eight-shot lead over Salem.
The Seminoles posted a 175 on their home course, with Sharvil Mehta leading the way with a 43. Kyle Reagan, Stephen Jackson and Myles Goldman all added 44s for Salem.
"It was real windy. To be honest, I was really a little disappointed because I thought we'd do a little better," Estes said. "With all the rain we had this weekend, the course was still soft around the greens. It was good wind. I estimated it about 20 mph, so it played havoc on some holes.
"If we're going to make up the eight strokes, we're going to need somebody to go low, because I know Heritage will play well at their place (on Tuesday). I feel like if our guys come out ready to play, we've got a chance - eight shots you can make up."
Kyle Estes' 44 was the low round for the Rockdale boys, who posted a team score of 196. Tony Discordia was next with a 45 followed by Josh Lambo with a 51 and Aaron Conyers and Adam Nation both at 53.
On the girls side, Rockdale's Kayla Kelly, who is seeking her third straight low medalist title in the event, opened with a 45 on Heritage's home course at Honey Creek Country Club.
In fact, Kelly is also looking to her keep her family's streak in the event alive as well. Kayla and her older sister, Maleah, have been the low medalist on the girls side in the last five Cups.
Alex Madsen added a 51 to give the Lady Bulldogs a team score of 96, which is nine in front of Salem at 105.
"I'm very pleased with today's results. Alex Madsen shot a 51 today and is really striking the ball well. Kayla Kelly shot a 45 and was our low round," Rockdale girls coach Frank Cassino said. "We're going to have to keep playing well over the next two days because Salem is too talented not to make a run at us."
Erin Knowles posted the Lady Seminoles' low round with a 52 and Dari Goldman was right behind with a 53.
Heritage is third at 133. Lisa Thomas had the best round for the Lady Patriots with a 65 followed by Brandi Carr at 68.
The boys will play on Heritage's home course at Honey Creek today, while the girls switch to Rockdale's home course at Cherokee Run.
On Wednesday, the boys will close out the tournament at Cherokee Run, while the girls will play at Highland.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.