Streaks continue
Heritage boys, Rockdale girls take Conyers Cup titles

CONYERS - The Heritage boys and the Rockdale girls padded their championship streaks in the Conyers Cup on Thursday.

The Patriots captured their fifth straight boys title by posting a team score of 171 on Rockdale's home course at Cherokee Run Golf Club. Heritage's three-round total of 493 was 37 shots better than Salem at 530.

In the girls match, the Lady Bulldogs took home the trophy for the fourth straight year, chalking up their third straight round under 100 with a 96 on Salem's home golf course at Highland Golf Club. Rockdale's three-round total of 291 was 22 strokes better than Salem at 313.

Individually, Rockdale's Kayla Kelly continued her personal streak and family's streak in the event. She shot a 42 for a three-round total of 130 to capture the girls medalist title for the third straight year. It's also the sixth year a member of her family has claimed the honor. Her sister, Maleah, won it from 2003-05.

"She's starting to hit her stride and she's just so competitive. She came off the course after shooting a 43 at Cherokee (Run) the other day and she was disappointed, so I think she was pretty focused today to go out there and prove herself," Rockdale girls coach Frank Cassino. "When she's out there and someone else is staying with her, she just concentrates and focuses a little bit more. The Kelly clan has had a monopoly on the low medalist."

On the boys side, Heritage freshman Harrison Elliott was the boys medalist, shooting a 42 in the final round to finish at 118. He was five strokes in front of teammate Bennett Mitchell, who finished at 123.

"Harrison's playing No. 5, but he's not our No. 5 player," Heritage coach David Buddenbaum said. "He won the tournament, so that's good for him. He's only a freshman, so that means we've got some good golf coming in the years to come, which is a positive."

In fact, the Heritage boys had the four lowest scores in Thursday's tough conditions at Cherokee Run. Mitchell tied Elliott for the lowest round at 42, while Cameron Smith added a 43 and Robby Kalland chipped in a 44.

"The guys played well all week. We shot 171, which isn't the best score, but this is a tough golf course," Buddenbaum said. "The winds were blowing big time, so that made it kind of rough. The greens were pretty fast and they were also bumpy.

"We've had a good group of players come through here. We keep on working on playing our best at the Conyers Cup. Now we just need to translate that to other tournaments and then to region. We're improving and we're starting to get some fifth and sixth scores and contributions."

The Salem boys posted a third-round team score of 189. Lane Keenan had the low round at 45 followed by Stephen Jackson at 47, Colten Clements at 48 and Kyle Reagan at 49.

The Rockdale boys posted a 203 on their home course for a three-round total of 584. Josh Lambo had the lowest round with a 47 followed by Tony Discordia (51), Adam Nation (52) and Aaron Conyers (53).

In the girls match, Alex Madsen added a 56 for Rockdale, which was very consistent in all three rounds, shooting 96, 99 and 96.

"I think we have a chance (at region). I still don't think we're playing our best golf," Cassino said. "I think the past three days have been a good gauge for us. Four years in a row is pretty good; I'd like to keep it a little bit longer, if we could. I'm proud of the girls. They had some competition, they fought right through it and came away with the Cup."

Salem's Dari Goldman kept the pressure on Kelly all day and tied her for the low round with a 42. She finished 10 shots behind Kelly with a three-round total of 140 in the tournament. Erin Knowles and Jamie Lee both shot 58s as the Lady Seminoles posted a team score of 100 in the final round.

The Heritage girls finished third round with a team score of 136 for a three-round total of 407.

The golf coaches thanked all three courses - Cherokee Run, Highland and Honey Creek - for hosting the event again this year.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.