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Bearcat golf team wraps up season

Coach Tom Wheeler’s Region 1-AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcat golf team, which won the school’s first Region golf championship for the first time in 40 years with a round of 347 at Country Oaks Golf Course in Thomasville, finished 16th in the State Class AAAA Tournament Monday at Jones Creek Golf Club in Augusta with a round of 367.

“We had a strong season and I could not be prouder of our team,” coach Wheeler said. “To do something that has not been done in 40 years is pretty special and a tribute to our players hard work.”

Coach Wheeler said the state course in Augusta was more challenging than any other course his team had played all season.

“We made some good shots but many of the greens were very difficult to read,” he said.

Christian Novak was the team’s leader with a score of 85 in the state tournament. Brenden Green finished second with a score of 89 and Bryce Howell was third with a score of 93.

Senior Bryce Howell won the Charles Lloyd “Tra” Palmer Award, the most prestigious award a Bainbridge High School Bearcats golfer can receive, for his consistent play and positive attitude on and off the course.

“When we won region, I knew he was going to win this award,” Wheeler said. “It not only goes to the best athlete, but the guy with leadership, integrity. He has a really competitive spirit, and is 100 percent Bearcat. I learned how much it meant to him. It was an easy choice. He deserved it.”

The award, which is a pen and ink drawing of the 18th hole at Bainbridge Country Club, is named for a former Bearcats golfer who lost his life in an automobile accident.

The award goes annually to a Bearcats golfer who possesses the same three traits of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship that Palmer displayed.

“Bryce played tennis also, so he wasn’t able to practice with the team,” Wheeler said. “He made the time to practice on his own, and he peaked when the stakes were the highest. He came through and shot lower than his normal scores that he has been posting. It was because of hard work.”