Two of the top boys' golf teams from a year ago in Region 3-AAA, Burke County and West Laurens, lost several players to graduation. And as a result, the Thomson High Bulldogs, who have several returnees this season, are predicted as the favorite team to win this year's region championship.
"We have our work cut out," admitted Thomson head coach Chris Hodges in a recent email. "Our goals this year include winning a region championship and competing in the state tournament in Columbus. We are especially looking at improving our short game and developing more consistent rounds."
In a match against the Hephzibah Rebels, which was played March 9 at Applewood Golf Course near Waynesboro, the Bulldogs won, posting a team score of 162-228.
Low medalist for Thomson was Ethan Chamineak, a junior, who recorded a score of 1-over par 37. The tourney was a 9-hole contest.
Aside from Chamineak, Thomson has five other top players on the team. They include: Jason English, Charlie Barmore, Walker Barmore, Aaron Washington, and Matt Stevenson. English and Charlie Barmore are both juniors, while those other golfers are seniors.
Another player expected to compete for one of the top spots on the golf team is Jay Bieltz, who also is a star soccer player. Bieltz is a senior, too.
Three other golfers, Justin Waller and Jackson Douglas, both juniors, along with Mitch Langham, a sophomore, also are expected to help the team a lot this season, according to coach Hodges.
Earlier this season, Thomson competed in the Taylor-Made/Adidas Invitational, which was hosted at Waynesboro Country Club. The Bulldogs finished 14th with a team score of 348 in the 18-hole affair.
Chamineak led the Bulldogs, posting an individual score of 8-over par 80.
Thomson High School plays their home golf matches at Belle Meade Country Club.
"We are very thankful for the opportunity to play and practice there," said coach Hodges.