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GOLF: Eastside teams push through windy conditions to claim Newton Cup
Newton's Ally Black, Eastside's Griffin Autry win individual low medalist
Eastside Golf
In claiming another Newton Cup, the Eastside boys golf team has won 14 of the last 15 matchups of the county's three GHSA high schools. -photo by Sydney Chacon

COVINGTON, Ga. — It was a tough day out on the golf course for all parties involved, but the Eastside Eagles boys and girls golf teams found a way to lock down another Newton Cup championship Monday afternoon in less-than-ideal conditions at Ashton Hills. The boys shot a cumulative 359 which bested Alcovy's 383 and Newton's 497, while the Eastside girls collectively tallied a 304 to Newton's 328.

Autry shines again

Eastside junior Griffin Autry led the way for the Eagles and was boys low medalist as he fought through windy conditions to shoot a 37 on his team’s home course. Autry said he was happy with his overall performance, but hungry for a better score.

“That’s the best round I’ve shot out of the three years I’ve been here, so I’ll take it,” Autry said. “It was a little frustrating to bogey the last two holes and shoot 37, but all-in-all I played pretty solid.”

Griffin Autry
Eastside junior Griffin Autry measures a putt during Monday's second round of the Newton Cup. Autry won individual low medalist on the boys side. -photo by Sydney Chacon

Following Autry’s impressive performance were sophomore William Harwell with a 46, freshman Nick Mitchell with a 49 and junior Riley McSwain with a 54. Eastside beat Alcovy’s boys by just four strokes in the second round but their 20 stroke lead in the first round was more than enough to carry them to victory.

The final tally for the Newton cup had the Eagles leading with a low of 359 strokes, Alcovy followed with a stroke total of 383 and Newton finished third with a total of 497.

Eagles head boys’ coach Jay Cawthon was pleased with his team’s showing — particularly with how they dealt with the tough conditions. He was also very impressed by Autry’s performance, but not in anyway surprised by it.

“We played okay for the conditions, but we’re starting to peak at the right time,” Cawthon said. “I’ve got a young group, but they’ve gotten better as the year’s gone along. In these conditions, I was surprised that anyone would break 40 today, but that just shows the kind of player (Griffin Autry) is. When he gets his mind right and the putter rolling, he can play with anybody.”

Cawthon mentioned that the Eagles have only lost the cup once in 15 years and it’s always one of the team’s main goals at the start of the season. With one goal down, the Eagles will now set their sites on the area tournament, which will start next Monday.

Lady Eagles take Cup, Black takes individual low

On the girls side, the Lady Eagles locked down the Newton Cup by 24 strokes lower than the Newton Rams beating them out 304 to 328, but it was the Rams’ Ally Black locking down the individual low medalist for all the schools.

Eastside girls golf
Eastside's girls golf team stands with coach Dennis Jones and the Newton Cup trophy after claiming the county crown for the third straight season. -photo by Sydney Chacon

Despite leading the way on both days with a 38 in the first round and a 48 in the second round giving her a total of 86, Black was not pleased with her performance on the second day even while dealing with harsh winds.

Ally Black
Newton sophomore Ally Black takes a practice swing during her second round at the Newton Cup Monday. -photo by Sydney Chacon

“No, not (happy) at all. I wanted to at least break 40,” said Black. “The wind, the ground was kind of wet, there was just a bunch of things going through your mind and whenever you’re trying not to do something, you end up doing what you don’t want to do, every time. My putting was off. It was just not a good day for me.”

Eastside’s lowest shooter for the Newton Cup, Caroline Culbertson, expressed similar frustrations with her 55 on the day. However as she stated in the past, it’s the tough days like today that make her want to get back out there and improve her play on the course.

Culberston finished the Cup with a 95 and was followed up by Emma Camfield with a 103 that helped lead the team to victory. Lady Eagles head coach Dennis Jones has led this team for the past three seasons and has secured the Newton Cup each year.

Caroline Culbertson
Eastside's Caroline Culbertson takes her swing during Monday's Newton Cup at Ashton Hills golf course. The Lady Eagles' sophomore was the girls' low scorer throughout the two-day match. -photo by Sydney Chacon

This season, Jones said he’s hoping the win will provide the kind of momentum that propels them to a state tournament berth.

“It’s great for the girls,” Jones said. “They know a lot of these kids that go to the other schools, so yeah it’s good stuff. I would love for us to finish in the top four (in Area 3-AAAA) so that we qualify for the state tournament.”

Jones stated that the Lady Eagles have to shoot a 330 or better in the area tournament with their top three scorers to make that wish a reality and he believes they have the ability to do it. After shooting a 304 in the Newton Cup, and given the area tournament’s location — Apple Mountain golf course in Clarkesville, Georgia —  Jones does have more confidence in his team.

“Apple Mountain, I’ve played that course before,” Jones said. “If it’s like it was when I played it a few years ago, it’s going to be easier for the girls to walk. (Ashton Hills) is so tough to play and walk and it’s really tight and there’s a lot of trouble on this course. Apple Mountain will be a little easier to play I think, so hopefully we can shoot some pretty good scores.”