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Hughes finishes sixth at State Golf Championship, Tigers end up eighth
Alex Hughes points to his score following his two-day aggregate of 1-under par 143, which earned him a sixth-place finish at the class AAA State Golf Championships. (Photo courtesy of DCHS Golf)

Alex Hughes put together two solid rounds at Bartram Trail Golf Club near Augusta during the Class AAA State Golf Championship, finishing in sixth place as an individual and leading Dawson County to an eighth-place team finish.

The Tigers faced a full slate of stiff competition for two grueling rounds on Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17.

In addition to Area rivals Westminster and Cherokee Bluff, the Tigers faced a strong host team in Richmond Academy.

"I’m happy for our guys. It’s crazy to say that we are disappointed to finish top 10 in the state," head coach Will Anglin said. "I think it says a lot about our program and where we have come from. At the end of the day, we finished eighth in a very competitive classification and that’s something to be proud of."

Hughes led the charge for DCHS by shooting an even-par 72 in his first round before finding himself in the red after a second-round 1-under 71.

With his performance, Hughes finished as one of only six golfers out of more than 75 to play the course under par at the end of two rounds. 

While the gap between the top two teams and the rest of the field was large, the individual scores at the top were much closer. Hughes finished just eight strokes off the individual champion.

As a team, the Tigers finished with an aggregate score of 662, good enough to place eighth out of 12 teams playing. 

"I think the biggest adjustment we had to make was preparing for the heat," Anglin said. "Leading into the tournament we were playing in the high 70s. Two days of 90-plus weather was difficult to adjust to."

That score of 662 was only two strokes behind last season’s third-place finish at the State Championship, showing the strength of this year’s qualifiers and the difficulty of the previous year’s golf course. 

However, the individual scores were an improvement, as Hughes shot 16 strokes better than he did at last year’s state championship. 

"Alex was incredible both days. He was so consistent," Anglin said. "Alex has always been extremely strong with his putter and that was on full display at State. He is an awesome kid that showed everyone why he is one of the best golfers in AAA."

The next-best scorer for the Tigers was Christian Roper, who shot rounds of 81 and 83 to finish at 164. Jeremy Ray, one of the most improved players on the team this season, shot rounds of 88 and 89 to finish at 177.

Seth Jackson rounded the four scores counted toward the team’s final aggregate with a 178 after rounds of 91 and 87.

Also playing were Will McNatt and Logan Casey who shot 183 and 195, respectively.

While Hughes, Roper and Jackson will be graduating this year, returning players include Ray, McNatt and Casey.