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Setting their own goal
Newton Rams look for good showing at AAAAA tourney

COVINGTON - The Newton girls golf team knows that winning the Class AAAAA championship is not a realistic goal.

However, the Lady Rams think that playing well is a reasonable ambition when they tee off Monday on Jekyll Island at the Indian Mound Golf Course.

Playing well for Newton's girls is scoring below 200.

"I think right at 200 is a fair assessment of how we'll do," Newton girls coach Kay Wright said.

If the Lady Rams hope to break that score, they have to be able to utilize the lessons learned from their previous experiences playing the course.

"The mental part is that if something goes out (of bounds) we just have to drop a ball and forget about it," Wright said.

Helping the girls achieve their goal and teach the mental aspects of the game to the others that have never been at Indian Mound are veterans and seniors Ashley Anthony and Adrienne Kitchens.

"I tell (teammates) not to get discouraged. I did that last year on the first hole," Anthony said. "I was playing with the girl that won state and you can't let them intimidate you. She is shooting in the 70s, which is kind of intimidating, but you can't let it get to you. Otherwise you're going to mess up your whole round."

Anthony, playing in her third state tournament, was determined to make the trip to Jekyll Island.

"It's really overwhelming because being a senior I was like, 'we have to make it to state.' I can't go my 10th- and 11th-grade year and not go my senior year," she said. "We want to try to play our best. I know we're not going to win state, but we could do our personal best and maybe knock five or so strokes off. I definitely want to shoot in the 90s."

Also hoping to break 100 are two first-timers, sophomores Lydia Mikula and Brianna Williams.

This is Mikula's first year playing golf, while Williams has not picked up a club since she was in the sixth grade.

Even though Mikula and Williams are relatively new to the game, their being on the team takes a lot of pressure off the two seniors.

"I would like to improve on last year's standings since we have four players instead of two. Each girl has a chance to come in with a good score," Wright said. "Adrienne has the experience of being there one time before. Our girls have been working really hard and this is a nice payoff for having a good season."

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

By Manny Fils

Sports Writer

COVINGTON - Region 2-AAAAA boys medalist Landon Cheek is hoping that the third time is the charm.

Cheek will be playing in the Class AAAAA boys golf state tournament at the Oleander Course on Jekyll Island for the third time in four years when he tees off Monday. It's the third straight time he's earned a trip to state as the Region 2-AAAAA individual champion.

The last two years the Newton senior finished in the top 25. This time, his aspirations are higher.

"I'd really like to place in the top 10," Cheek said. "I've placed in the top 25 the last two years, so if I could place in the top 10 in my senior year that would be real good."

Having played Oleander twice, Cheek said his knowledge of the course and conditions should allow him to have a good showing.

"The winds are a big factor. The winds are blowing constantly," Cheek said. "When you get there, you have to look at everything and make sure you account for the wind."

Another important lesson Cheek has learned about playing on the ocean-side course is to forget about bad holes. He said that just because you have one bad hole, it doesn't mean your chances to win are over. The secret is to keep the bad holes to a minimum.

The Class AAAAA boys play a 36-hole tournament. After playing the first 18, they get a 30-minute break before going back out to play the second round.

While many might think it's tiring, considering that you have to walk and carry your own bag, Cheek does not.

He said that he doesn't realize how tiring 36 holes of golf really is until after it's over. While he's playing, he just takes it all in and enjoys himself.

Besides, it's not like he's never done this before. This is Cheek's fourth trip to Jekyll Island for the Class AAAAA tournament.

The one thing Cheek wishes he had was the support from his teammates. On the other hand, without his team there, he can play his own game without wondering how the rest of the team is playing.

"It's easier on me because I don't have to worry about if we're going to do well as a team," he said. "I just have to go out there and play my own game."

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