Deerfield star golfer John Leach finished the region tournament in third place last week, then turned around and took third at state Monday.
ALBANY — Deerfield’s legendary basketball coach Gordy Gruhl also coaches the golf team, so it made sense to hear Gruhl’s comments after the GISA Class AAA state golf tournament Monday at Doublegate Country Club.
“Well, it’s not something where you can guard anyone,’’ said Gruhl, whose team played about as well as it has all year at state, finishing third.
John Leach fired a 74 to lead DWS and the Knights shot a 316, just behind Augusta Prep (315) and Tiftarea, which won the state title with a team score of 308 with the help of Thomas Buckner, who won the individual title with a 70, and Caroline Griffin, who shot a 75.
Deerfield’s Wilson Joiner shot a 76 to tie for ninth, while Ethan Shellhaas (81), Hunter Brooks (85) and John Cole (89) followed for Deerfield.
Sherwood Christian shot a 318 to finish fifth, thanks to Tyler Hanson, a remarkable eighth grader who shot a 76. But Hanson, who finished as the low medalist in five head-to-head matches this season for SCA, left Doublegate disappointed.
“I’m not happy,’’ he said. “I got off to a bad start, and I had a lot of three-putts. I would have liked to have been up there (with the leader). I’m not happy with the 76.’’
Still, Hanson is only 14. He’s been playing golf since he was 10, and Doublegate is not his home course. He plays most of the time at Grand Island.
“This (Doublegate course) is challenging,’’ said Hanson, who had birdies on 9 and 17. “It’s exciting (playing against high school players), and I have four more years. I would like to win a state title.’’
Sherwood’s Walt Matthews (79), Tyler George (79), Lakese Brown (84) and Kenny Brown (92) rounded out the Eagles’ scoring.
“We’re real pleased,’’ SCA assistant golf coach Brian Dougherty said. “That was the best score we’ve shot all year. To be 10 shots off the state champion, we’re pleased. Our best player is an eighth grader, and our next two players are freshman. They’re looking good (for the future).’’
Deerfield’s Leach and Joiner both had big days.
“They both had the best scores of the year,’’ Gruhl said. “They got us in the hunt. Tiftarea was just better. Tiftarea has been rock solid all year. They beat us four times. I was kind of hoping we would get second, but Augusta Prep snuck in there behind us and beat us by one stroke.’’
Leach, a junior, was pumped for the state meet. Doublegate is his home course, but he shot his lowest score ever there on Monday.
“I knew I had to come out and shoot a good round, playing No. 1,’’ Leach said. “I usually shoot in the high 70s here, but I had my best day here.’’
Leach, who had birdies on 10, 13 and 15, finished third in the region golf tournament two weeks ago, then turned around and took third at state.
“I’ll take third,’’ he said with a smile. “There was pressure because (it was the state tournament), but the pressure really didn’t kick in until the 16th hole.’’
DWS BASEBALL RALLIES, BEATS TATTNALL SQUARE:
Deerfield Windsor’s baseball team wrapped up its regular season Monday with a come-from-behind, 5-3 win against Tattnall Square.
The Knights (18-3) scored three runs in the fifth to erase a 4-2 lead and beat one of their biggest rivals. Coleman Butler (2-1) got the win in relief and Austin Murphy, who is 6-0 for the season, picked up his first save.
Weston King went 2-for-2 with a double and a single and drove in two runs, including a big run in the fifth. Johnny Croley went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs, including one in the fifth. Lindsey Short went 2-for-3 and also had a big RBI in the fifth, and Kh’Ron McClain went 1-for-3 and led off the fifth with a double and scored.
FORMER WESTOVER STAR, HERALD PLAYER OF YEAR BROWN LEAVES DARTON FOR GEORGIA SOUTHERN:
ALBANY — The Albany Herald’s three-time reigning Player of the Year for boys soccer, Danny Brown of Westover, has decided to leave the Darton College soccer program and attempt to walk on at Georgia Southern, according to Westover boys soccer coach Greg Brown, Danny’s father.
Brown played sparingly in his first, and only, season at Darton as a freshman. He missed time after coming down with mono and then breaking his foot and was never really a factor on the Cavs’ team that finished third in the nation in 2011.
Brown graduated from Westover as one of the school’s all-time leading goal scorers with 96 and became The Herald’s first three-time POY for boys soccer.