Monday February 8th, 2016 4:17PM

Golf: GHS boys blister Royal Lakes in opening round of Hall Co. Championships

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
OAKWOOD -- Mother Nature and Royal Lakes Golf Course were no match for the Gainesville boys golf team Monday on the opening round of the Hall County Championships.

The Red Elephants shot an 11-under 133 on the front nine and placed five of their six starters in the top 10 of the individual leaderboard despite wind-gusts of nearly 15 mph during most of the round.

The final round will begin Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Royal Lakes.

Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said he was a little surprised at the low scores considering the conditions.

"It's a tough course when there isn't wind so to post scores like we did was outstanding," Worley said. "We told the guys to be aggressive in respects that they could play the course whatever way they felt comfortable."

Gainesville junior Lawson King led the way with a 5-under 31, two shots better than teammates Spencer Ralston and Nathan Williams. Jackson Bishop fired an even-par 36 and Brady Holcomb had a 3-over 39 for the Elephants top four scorers.

"I've been playing pretty well lately and my plan was to keep the ball low and hit greens. I was able to do that except for No. 9," King said. "I'm a little surprised to be leading because Spencer has been so good lately but we all feel we can win (the individual title)."

King eagled Nos. 1 and 3 and birdied Nos. 4 and 5 before closing with his only bogey on No. 9.

Ralston, who came in as the favorite for the individual title, also eagled No. 3, bogeyed No. 4, and had birdies on Nos. 6 and 8 for his 3-under 33.

"My approach (in the wind) was to be patient and take a little extra club," Ralston said. "I hit the ball pretty well overall. I had a couple of putts I feel I should have made but I was happy with the round."

North Hall senior Hunter Young was considered among the top non-Gainesville players with a chance to grab the individual title but struggled over the final four holes and finished with a 4-over 40. He was even par going to No. 6 but suffered bogeys at Nos. 6 and 7 and a double-bogey at No. 8 to fall off the pace.

"I always struggle here and with the wind it was a tough day," Young said. "I probably played a little too aggressive with the wind conditions like they were. But the back nine is tough even in good conditions so anything is possible (Tuesday). If I can hit some greens I have a chance to put up a low number. We'll see."

In the boys team standings, Flowery Branch was second with 171, led by Alden Jackson's 39. North Hall was third with 174, paced by a 39 from Clay Hoffman. Johnson was fourth at 195, Lakeview Academy fifth with 199, East Hall sixth at 204, Chestatee seventh with 209, and West Hall eighth at 223.

Individually, eight players are within nine strokes as they head to the difficult back nine on Tuesday.

King led the way with his 31 followed by Ralston and Williams tied for second at 33. Bishop was fourth with a 36, with Hoffman of North Hall, Jackson of Flowery Branch, and Gainesville's Holcomb all tied for fifth with 39s. The Trojans' Young was eighth with a 40, Tanner Merck of Flowery Branch was ninth at 42, and Lakeview Academy's John Jacobs and Johnson's Shane Burdette are tied for 10th with 43s.

In the girls tournament, the Lady Red Elephants lead the way with a team score of 81. West Hall was second at 99, North Hall third with a 106, Johnson fourth at 107, Flowery branch fifth at 112, and Chestatee was sixth at 114.

The race for the individual title honors may come down to the final hole with six players within six shots.

Meg Callahan of Gainesville led the individual leaderboard with a 40, one shot better than teammate Madeline Harr (41). Olivia Davis of West Hall is third at 43, Morgan Reece of Gainesville is fourth with a 44, and Gainesville 's Ashleigh Bishop and North Hall's Haley Twiggs were tied for fifth after shooting 48s. Macie Hurst was sixth at 50, Chestatee's Madison Eiberger and Johnson's Kristen Waters were tied for eighth with 52s, and Madison Stewart of Johnson 10th after firing a 55.
© Copyright 2016
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 1 year ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys semifinals: Unbeatens Johnson, Red Elephants roll into finals
Both Gainesville and Johnson powered their way into the Lanierland Tournament finals on Monday. The two undefeated teams will meet Tuesday for the title at 8:30 p.m. at Chestatee.
10:01AM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland girls semifinals: GHS, Lady Falcons advance to finals <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Flowery Branch and Gainesville each took impressive wins Monday to advance to the Lanierland Tournament finals...
10:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Lady Tigers advance to Pickens Holiday finals
The Dawson County girls basketball advanced to the finals of the Pickens Holiday Classic after an 81-54 win over Riverwood Monday.
11:48PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
Basketball: February frenzy starts in earnest as region tournaments get underway
If you're a high school basketball fan, then this week represents the zenith of the season...
By AccessWDUN Staff
4:28PM ( 10 minutes from now )
Falcons hire former Chiefs assistant GM Joel Collier
The Atlanta Falcons continue to shake up their front office, hiring Joel Collier as director of pro personnel.
By AP, staff reports
4:25PM ( 7 minutes from now )
Denver defense leads way for Manning, as QB gets chance to ride into sunset with Super Bowl 50 win
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — A reborn Orange Crush might have sent Peyton Manning into retirement with a Super ending to his career.Von Miller and the impenetrable Denver defense harassed Panthers quart...
By The Associated Press
12:02AM ( 16 hours ago )
No. 15 Baseball Sweeps Eagles with 11-3 Win
Daniel McCrary pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball and North Georgia put 11 runs on the board in just three innings as the No. 15 Nighthawks cruised to a series sweep of Carson-Newman with an 11-3 win Sunday afternoon.
By UNG Athletics Communications
11:51PM ( 16 hours ago )
Piedmont pitching sets tone in 7-3 victory over Guilford
Following a game with heavy offensive output on both sides Saturday, it was the pitching that set the tone in the Piedmont College baseball team's 7-3 victory over Guilford College Sunday.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:48PM ( 16 hours ago )