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Eastside boys look for top-10 finish at state tournament

The Region 8-AAAA golf champions are ready to compete in the final event of the season playing in the Class AAAA Georgia State Championship at Westlake Country Club in Martinez on Monday. Pictured at Ashton Hills Golf Club are, from left, Jed Parker, Tyler Dysart, Ryan Dial, Quin Murphy, Jack Mitchell and Matt Mitchell. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)

The Region 8-AAAA golf champions are ready to compete in the final event of the season playing in the Class AAAA Georgia State Championship at Westlake Country Club in Martinez on Monday. Pictured at Ashton Hills Golf Club are, from left, Jed Parker, Tyler Dysart, Ryan Dial, Quin Murphy, Jack Mitchell and Matt Mitchell. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)

COVINGTON — Despite making it out of the Region 8-AAAA tournament with the highest qualifying score, Eastside boys golf coach Jay Cawthon thinks that his team has the potential to drop 20 strokes off their game at the Class AAAA state tournament on Westlake Country Club in Martinez on Monday.

“I would like for us to make the top 10, that’s a goal for us. I was happy to have shot a score good enough to get in and not go to sectional.”

The Eastside boys were on their way to sectional with a score of 351 before Ryan Dial came in with a score of 93 to bring the team score down to 350 allowing them to make it to the state tournament with the highest qualifying score possible.

Murphy’s 74 was the lowest score in the region tournament at Highland Walk Golf Course at Victoria Bryant.

After making it to state last year as an individual, Murphy is pleased that his team will be with him for his final high school round.

“It’s my last state, senior year, we have great chemistry with all the team,” Murphy said. “We have a lot of fun out there and hopefully that’ll all translate into a good round trying to go out with our guns blazing.”

Aside from playing for a team title, Murphy has a legitimate chance to compete for the individual low medalist. He feels that the winning score will be in the mid-to-upper 60’s. Even though he has a chance, a score is the last thing on his mind.

“I want to go out there and make as many birdies as possible and shoot the lowest score I can. I like the way the course sets up. I’m going to go out and give it everything I got and have some fun,” Murphy said. “It’s one of those things that if you go out with a score in your mind you’re not going to shoot it because you put too much pressure on yourself. But if you go out there and try to execute all your shots and have a lot of fun it’ll come along.

“Golf is a sport that takes a lot of hard work and patience. Instead of focusing on your swing or something like that, go out and start having fun you start playing better.”

Besides Murphy bringing in a low score, if the team goal of 330 is to be realized, rounds in the low-to-mid 80’s by three of the other five players on the team will also have to be achieved.

The other players Cawthon is counting on include Matt and Jack Mitchell, Jed Parker, Tyler Dysart and Dial who already proved he has what it takes to deliver under pressure at the region tournament.

“I think our No. 2, 3 and 4 can do that,” Cawthon said. “A couple of the guys went last weekend and played there but we have a practice round on Sunday. We’ll take some notes and see what happens.”

The initial report from the players that played was that Westlake is a short and open course where a good drive will leave a wedge shot to the green on the par four holes.

“It’s really going to come down to the wedge game from 130 yards in,” Cawthon said. “We can always improve (short game) but I feel better from 130 out than inside 100 for a majority my guys.”