The first major tournament of the summer North Georgia Junior Golf tour was a home game for many Oconee County golfers.
The tour took to the course at Jennings Mill Country Club for the North Georgia Junior Championship on Monday and Tuesday.
The event brought out a high number of Oconeeians.
There was a battle near the top of a few leaderboards for the right to carry Oconee County’s proverbial banner for the week.
Watkinsville’s Brooks Cass won the 11-13-year-old age group.
Cass fired a 37 in round two to earn the first-place plaque. Tuesday Cass rallied from a bit of a deficit that he’d accumulated with his 40 he shot in round one. Cass entered play down two shots after Monday.
Cass plays Jennings Mill’s course on a regular basis.
He considers it is home course. Cass didn’t play as well as he wanted to on Monday.
His comfort with the course helped Cass relax on Tuesday.
“I played good yesterday, but played a lot better today (Tuesday),” Cass said. “I felt really good about today and yesterday.”
The course played longer than normal on Tuesday.
Rain Monday afternoon as well as the cool windy conditions Tuesday provided some challenges for the 13-year-old Cass and the rest of the field.
“The fairways and greens were a lot softer today,” Cass said. “The ball wasn’t releasing quite as much, and the course played a little bit longer. All in all, it didn’t make much difference.”
Cass felt the Oconee pride being one of two Oconee County natives to win low medalist in the event.
“There aren’t many people that play this tour that are from Oconee County, it’s mostly people outside of this area,” Cass said.
Kathryn DeLoach found the tournament more ‘fun’ playing around the familiar faces in her hometown. When the tour makes its stops around the state, DeLoach and Cass play with new faces.
“I’ve played a lot of courses, but it’s a favorite to play around here just because its courses that I know and courses that I’ve played,” DeLoach said. “More locals also play, people I know. It makes the round more fun when you’re playing talking in between shots. The courses around here, I’ve played and they’re fun. Jennings Mill isn’t a course that I get to play a lot, but when I do, I really do enjoy it.”
DeLoach won the girls 11-13-year-old age group. It was her second win of the 2020 NGJG season, the other coming at Lane Creek on January 26.
Monday DeLoach carded a 44 before returning Monday with a 37 that erased the deficit that was created in the first round.
“I was happy about my 37,” DeLoach said. “I didn’t have my greatest day yesterday (Monday). I played well today. If felt good to come back and still win. I was happy to get to play this week.”
Two older players entered the local event. North Oconee High School graduate Michael Murray came in fourth place in the overall boys standings. Murray posted two 77s in the two-day event.
Prince Avenue Christian School’s Dallas Pettus finished the event in fifth place while showing off his new swing. COVID-19 canceled the high school golf season. Pettus has been working on his new swing and adding strength since last fall.
Pettus worked out with PACS’ football team last summer to get stronger. Pettus hopes to begin attracting colleges as he prepares to begin his senior year of high school.
“I went through a six-month process of trying to get a tighter, more compact swing so that the nerves and pressure doesn’t get to me in tournaments and it’s something easy I can go to,” Pettus said. “I definitely have seen more consistent balls. My accuracy is better. I’m in the ball a lot longer than I was six months ago.”
Bishop’s Aaron Jackson finished in 10th place overall. Jackson carded an 81 on Monday and an 82 on Tuesday.
Bogart’s Camryn Wright finished third in the girls 13-18 age group. Wright shot a 95 on Monday and a 91 on Tuesday.
The NGJG heads to Monroe Golf Club for the WAG-CPI Summer Classic starting on Saturday.