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Alcovy sweeps at region golf tourney

Staff photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith  Alcovy's Kelsey Knight sinks her par putt on the par-3, 15th hole during the Region 2-AAAAAA golf tournament at The Oaks Course.

Staff photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith Alcovy's Kelsey Knight sinks her par putt on the par-3, 15th hole during the Region 2-AAAAAA golf tournament at The Oaks Course.

COVINGTON -- It was a big day for Alcovy as the boys and girls teams ended the regular season by winning the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament at The Oaks Course on Tuesday.

The Alcovy boys shot a 325 with the girls shooting a 303 to win region.

For the girls, Luella came in second place with a score of 307 with Newton coming third shooting a 324.

Just like the girls, Luella was the runner-up with a 347 followed by Rockdale (384), Druid Hills (389), Lovejoy (424) and Newton (450).

"I thought it was going to be close and it was," Alcovy head coach Chris Newsham said of making it to the state tournament. "That was the goal for the season and they made it by five strokes. It's awesome now we have to see what happens. We're capable of playing better."

While the Alcovy boys got an automatic selection to the Class AAAAAA tournament in Tifton at Spring Hill Country Club on May 20, the girls still have to get through the sectional on May 6 at the Country Club of Roswell.

In order to qualify automatically qualify for state, the girls needed to shoot a team score 300. Unfortunately, they fell short shooting a 303.

"I know the girls are a little disappointed missing it out by three shots," Newsham said. "But they live to fight another day so they can play better. I think they have a legitimate shot when they go to sectionals. We just have to see what happens."

Kelsey Knight not only led the Alcovy girls in scoring, she led the entire region in scoring to win become the region champion. She earned her low-medalist honor shooting a 94.

"Kelsey got a rough start," Newsham said. "She came back strong on the back side."

While Knight did her part to win the team region championship, she could not have done it alone. Playing well enough to win region were Emily Moore (102) with Kaitlyn Doering and Sharlie Harrell each shooting a 107.

As a team, the Newton girls came in third place but Logan Malcom shined above the rest of the team shooting three strokes behind Knight for a 97 to earn her trip to the state tournament at Sunset Country Club in Moultrie on May 20. According to GHSA rules, a low-medalist that is not part of a team going to state is eligible to play in the state tournament.

After putting for a birdie on the 12th hole, Malcom sank her third shot on the par-4, 13th with a chip shot from 40-yards away to keep the other players in the field behind her.

"Logan qualifying for state is a great thing. It makes me proud to see her do that and to see the improvement she's made since she was a freshman and go out and shoot a really good score. I'm very proud of her," Newton head coach Steven Spruell said.

"This is a personal best for her. If she has broken 100, it wasn't in a match that I've seen. But again she's been able to go out in the past and put up some descent scores. But to do it for 18 holes under the pressure of the region tournament is really good."

Shooting a scoring round with Malcom for the Newton girls are Jade Woods (108) and Ashton McKinnon (119) with Paris Little shooting a non-scoring round of 126.

Alcovy's Zach Floyd came close to getting the low-medalist championship tying Luella's Devin White with a 72. Floyd held a one-stroke lead after the first nine shooting a 38. But White was able to come back in the back nine to shoot a two-under 33 with Floyd shooting a one-under 34.

White, who will play as an individual at the state tournament, continued to take the momentum into the first playoff hole getting a birdie to Floyd's par. White was able to reach the par-5, 10th hole in two shots missing a six-foot eagle putt before winning the hole with a birdie.

Even though Floyd did not win low-medalist, his 72 played a big part in helping the Alcovy team win region and an automatic trip to state.

"I knew we were going to have to get a score in the mid-to-low 70s to have a chance," Newsham said. "I tried to get out there and tell the guys to go after it because a couple of them were struggling. They fought to the end and got the reward for it."

While only the top four scores are counted, the other five players stepped up when the pressure was coming down on them. Alcovy's No. 2 player Andrew Cochran and No. 6 player Jess Nelson shot good rounds scoring an 84. The other scoring round came from No. 5 player Matt Lovell with No. 4 player Wesley Keaton shooting an 85 and No. 3 player shooting an 87.

"The guys did great, especially four through six," Newsham said. "We were struggling for a while but I'm real pleased for the four through six guys.