Last season the Knights missed a chance to advance to the GHSA 4A Sectionals by just three strokes. After posting a score of 343 in the Region 4 Tournament at Georgia National Golf Club in McDonough last season, Upson-Lee finished as the Region 4 Runners-Up to Spalding, but failed to shoot the Sectional qualifying score of 340.
However, this season the Knights have a much better chance of advancing to the Sectionals with the GHSA moving the qualifying score from 340 to 350. Plus, the Knights will be very familiar with the course at which the tournament will be played. Upson-Lee will host the Region 4 Tournament at Raintree Golf Club on April 18. The Knights’ biggest competition this season will once again be Spalding, but according to Upson-Lee golf coach Bart Phillips, he feels the Knights have a chance put some pressure on the defending Region 4 Champion Jaguars.
“I feel like we have a chance to make a run,” said Phillips. “We will definitely have the home field advantage so to speak, and our guys are really striking the ball well right now. It will not be easy for anyone in the region to take down Spalding, but if we can play within ourselves, play the course, and have four clean rounds, we give ourselves a good chance.”
The Knights improved their match play record to 6-0 on the season after defeating Pike County by a 156-185 score on Tuesday. Upson-Lee junior Zac Hendrix led the Knights, shooting even par (36) in his nine-hole round. Freshman Wil Hernandez posted a 38, while junior Justin Gilbert and senior Bo Davison each shot a very respectable score of 41.
If Upson-Lee can post the qualifying score of 350 and win the Region 4 Tournament, they would be able to skip the Sectionals and advance directly to the State Tournament.
The Knights will have three more matches scheduled next week before they start the Region Tournament. Upson-Lee will take on Lamar County and will have a home-home match with Mary Persons.
Keep reading The Times for updates on the Knights’ golf team and coverage on the Region 4 Golf Tournament.
Wes McCard can be contacted at (706) 647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.