EVANS -- For much of the past three years, the Gainesville boys have made it look as if home-field advantage counts for little in golf.
On Monday, Greenbrier and Lakeside, Evans, showed that familiarity does indeed carry weight on the links.
Playing on their home course, the Wolfpack and Panthers combined to halt the Red Elephants' state title dominance and deny Gainesville its third straight crown in the Class AAAAA championships, played at Bartram Trail Golf Club in Evans.
The two Region 2-AAAAA foes finished regulation tied for first, each firing a 291 to squeeze out the Red Elephants, who finished third with a 295. (Greenbrier went on to win a sudden death playoff to claim the title.)
The setback was Gainesville's first in three seasons. Meanwhile, the Lady Red Elephants finished second in the Class AAAAA girls tournament at Jones Creek Golf Course in Augusta, coming in behind champion Cambridge 223-248. Other area golfers to impress on Monday included Commerce's girls, which won Class A public (175) -- led by Akyn Trudnak's low medalist round of 81 -- while the Buford girls took third in Class AAA (255). Individually, Dawson County's Madison Caldwell finished second with a 76 -- one stroke behind the low medalist -- while Lakeview Academy's John Jacobs IV shot a 77 to tie for 11th in the Class A private tournament.
As good as the performances were, however, it could not match the past two seasons for the area's most dominant program.
"We've had a remarkable run," Red Elephants coach Bryson Worley said. "But this one stings a bit because it's state. The boys wanted it. That's golf; it's a tough sport. Hats off to Greenbrier and Lakeside; they played really well. But we never really got a rhythm today.
"We knew the course well enough; we played it four times before today -- we just didn't play it well today. But I'm proud of our guys. Even though we didn't play well, we did what we do: battled to the end and kept fighting even when we didn't have our best."
Most teams would have been happy to "battle" with recorded scores of 69, 75, 75 and 76, as Gainesville did, but, as the Red Elephants have shown the past two seasons, they are not most teams.
"It just wasn't our day," Gainesville senior Jackson Bishop said. "We played pretty well, just not as well as we could."
Lawson King certainly found his game, as the Gainesville junior carded a three-under 69 to finish with the third lowest individual score