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Driving to succeed: THS Lady Dogs golf team finishes 10th in state tourney

WAYNESBORO - Thomson High School sophomore golfer Becca Goldman, playing in the Class AAA Girls' State Golf Tournament at Applewood Golf Course last Monday, gave it everything she had and a little more.

Still, it wasn't enough to turn back the play of several other girls' prep teams, including Carrollton High School, which captured the 2007 state golf championship. The Carrollton team, which finished the one-day, 18-hole tourney, won the crown with a team score of 177 - just two-strokes better than runner-up Franklin County, which recorded a team score of 179.

Rounding out the top three teams and finishing with a team score of 187 was Oconee County. The third place team, runners-up in Region 8, also featured the state's low-medalist of the tournament - Yegene Lee, who posted an overall score of 78, shooting a 40 on the first nine holes and a 38 on the backside.

The Thomson team, meanwhile, which was spearheaded by Goldman's impressive score of 104, finished tied for 10th in the state tournament with an overall score of 225 - the same as Burke County's Lady Bears. During the recent Region 3-AAA tournament, hosted at the Waynesboro Country Club, Thomson came in just two-strokes behind Burke County in their quest to win the region title.

Thomson Coach John Barnett, who has just completed his fourth year, helped guide his team to a 10-3 overall record this season, including finishing runners-up in region match play.

"Maybe we did some things this season that will set the stage for better things to come," Coach Barnett said after the state tournament.

His Lady Bulldogs, like all of the teams in the state tournament, were confronted with having to battle cool, strong, windy conditions at Applewood Golf Course.

"I'm sure that many of the participants were disappointed in their scores, but the conditions were the same for all of the teams," Coach Barnett said.

Goldman, who teed-off first in the state tournament for Thomson, put on nothing short of a dazzling performance.

On the front nine of the course, which once was a large apple orchard, the 15-year-old Goldman, daughter of Bobby and Cindy Goldman of Thomson, shot a 55. She bettered that score on the back nine by six-strokes with a 49.

"She has really worked hard during practice and on her own," Coach Barnett said. "It has shown as the season has progressed."

Goldman, who plans to play again next year as a junior, said she learned a lot of things that she hopes to remember next season.

"I plan to play smarter and not take as many risks," Goldman said, noting that one of the risks she took in state play was attempting to hit the ball over a pond on Hole No. 15. Her effort resulted in the ball finding the water.

Overall, Goldman believes she now has learned some valuable experiences from having played in the state tournament.

Goldman's scores bettered not only her three teammates - Becky Williams, Olivia Jones and Whitney Hillman - but also Burke County's region four-member championship team.

Her scores would have been even better had she been able to birdie Holes no. 11 and no. 13.

"I came real close to making birdies, but had to settle for pars on both of those holes," Goldman said. "I think I could have done better if it hadn't been as windy as it was."

Whitney Hillman, the other sophomore on the Thomson team, shot a 121; while seniors Becky Williams posted a 122 and Olivia Jones posted a 126.

A total of 56 female prep golfers, representing 16 different high schools from across Georgia, participated in the Class AAA State Golf Tournament. Schools aside from Thomson and Burke County included: Carrollton, Franklin County, Oconee County, Crisp County, Columbus, West Laurens, LaGrange, Westover, Blessed Trinity Catholic, Cass, Westminister, White County and Gainesville. One other team, Central Macon was scheduled to compete, but failed to show.

Web posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007

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