Two years ago, the Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School finished seventh in state golf play. This year, they again have qualified for state competition and hope to do even better - perhaps even bring home a first-ever state championship.
"It's been a surprising year for our golf team to be honest," said John Barnett, who is in his fourth year as golf coach of the Lady Bulldogs. "I didn't honestly know we'd do as well as we have done before the season started."
The team recently finished in second place - just two-strokes behind Burke County's Lady Bears of Coach Wade Marchman, who won the Region 3-AAA girls' golf title.
"We played really well in region," Coach Barnett said. "I was real pleased with our overall play."
Now it's time to step it up another notch, as the Lady Bulldogs compete in a 17-team Class AAA field on Monday, May 7 at Applewood Golf Course in Burke County for a shot at winning a state title.
Applewood Golf Course is located 13 miles south of Augusta, off Highway 25 (Peach Orchard Road). Make a right turn onto Winter Road and then a left turn onto Story Mill Road. Go about a half mile down, and the course is located on the left.
This year's Lady Bulldog team is made up of five players. They include: Becky Williams and Olivia Jones, both seniors; Kelly Adams, a junior; Becca Goldman and Whitney Hillman, both sophomores.
"These girls have worked pretty hard to get where they have gotten," Coach Barnett said.
Williams, he pointed out, "has played well at times and helped us win some matches this season. Whitney and Becca also have worked pretty hard this season and have helped us get where we are right now."
Currently, the Lady Bulldogs sport an overall record of 10-3.
During match play, only four team members are allowed to compete - with the two lowest scores being counted. The two higher scores are cast out.
All season long, both the girls' and boys' golf teams from Thomson High School have used Belle Meade Country Club as their home golf course - like has been the case in previous years.
"I appreciate so much the people of Belle Meade Country Club, like Ted Shurling and Gregg Hemann letting us use the golf course for our practices and matches," Coach Barnett said. "They have been extremely good to both of our golf programs at Thomson High School."
Coach Barnett confesses that he is not a golfer, himself.
But he knows the game and said he enjoys helping his young, talented golfers understand the game more from the mental standpoint.
"I try to teach them how to think the game," Coach Barnett said. "I'm not a golfer. But I know this game is about competition, mental focus, discipline and working hard to get better in all facets."