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April 12, 2014

ABAC golf team takes 2nd place at state

TIFTON — The golf team at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College took home second place at the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XVII Golf Championship earlier this month at Bagby State Park in Fort Gaines.

The team is now gearing up for the NJCAA District Four Golf Tournament that starts today at Stonebridge Country Club in Albany and goes through Tuesday.

On the first day of play in the Region XVII tourney, the Stallion golfers had a score of 297, followed by a second day score of 301 for a total of 598. The third day of the championship was cancelled due to inclement weather,

Darton State College won the championship with a score of 591. Other colleges in the state tournament included Andrew College with a total score of 601 and Georgia Military College with a total score of 659.

At the conclusion of the tournament, ABAC team captain Chris Rogers from Dawson and Lee Wright of Moultrie were selected as first team all-region players.    Both players were also tied for third out of 20 golfers. Robbie Johnson from Canada finished seventh, Guillermo Retana of Spain placed 10th, and Clay Degler from Greenville finished 15th for the Stallions.

“Coach Chesley Gunn and I are very proud of the ABAC golf team,” said head coach Jimmy Ballenger. “Some of our players get to the golf course at 1 p.m. and don’t leave until 8 p.m. They have great team chemistry."

Rogers added, “I was very happy with the way we played at state. I feel like this was one of our most solid tournaments all year, and we gained a lot of confidence heading into the district tournament. Two of our players were in the top five and three of the four top players with the most pars were from ABAC.”

With the state championship behind them, the team now has all its focus on the NJCAA District Four Tournament where ABAC will compete with 11 other teams from across the south for the district title.

“The team is playing really well, and hopefully we can carry the energy from the state championship into the tournament,” said Rogers. “Stonebridge is a great course, and we are excited about playing there. But we have an extremely tough district so just placing high enough to make it to nationals is a big accomplishment and that is our goal.”

The team’s hard work has really paid off, but Ballenger said he would also like to give credit to former head coach of the ABAC golf team, Herb Hendrix, who contributed to the team's success before his retirement.

“One of our goals has been to build upon the foundation established by Herb Hendrix and compete in state, district, and nationals,” Ballenger said. “Without him, none of these players would be at ABAC.”

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