Gordon Lee golfer Justin Hickman can boast, for the rest of his life, that he won a golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.
That line of talk elicits an image of him making a birdie on the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters. Maybe even a birdie at the famed No. 12, which is called Golden Bell.
He didn't do that Monday. But his story about winning in Augusta can grow with time.
Hickman won the Georgia Class A state championship as a medalist with a 3-over-par 75 at Forest Hills Golf Club to help lead the Trojans to the team state championship.
"I tried to stay calm, and I knew when I was getting antsy," Hickman said. "I tried to walk slow. I tried not to get too serious about it. I talked with guys in my group to have a little fun. I only worried about the next shot."
Hickman and the Trojans were the only victors out of the 12 golf teams and nine individuals from the northwest Georgia area that competed in GHSA championship events in the Augusta area Monday.
The Trojans won with a score of 319, which topped Class A runner-up Trion by 26 strokes.
"I got a medal," Hickman said. "It will go in my room for now. Then I'll do something with it and the ball I played today, and turn it into a Christmas gift for mom and dad."
That surprise is spoiled.
The trip to Augusta was fruitful for several other teams and individuals, even though they did not win.
Trion set a school first by having both the girls' and boys' team reach the state event.
"They worked hard to get to this location," Trion coach Doug Wilson said. "I'm very proud of both teams."
The Dalton girls' team finished runner-up in Class AAAA at Waynesboro Country Club.
"They're just juniors and sophomores, and the talent is more evenly spread out than least year when we were third," said Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth, whose team was led by 86s from Ashleigh Peters and Mable McKone. "I'm proud that four girls scored in the 80s."
The greater Chattanooga area had other representatives who played well close to the Savannah River.
Dade County senior Chase Cole tied for second place after making seven birdies and shooting a 4-under 68 at Applewood Golf Course.
"He's easy to coach," said first-year golf coach Bradley Warren. "He already knew how to play the game when I came along. Really, he battled for a state championship all day today and did very well."
Branton Bailey of Gordon Central battled a different course. He tied for third place after shooting an even-72 at Belle Meade Country Club.
"He had to scramble," Gordon Central coach Melanie Moore said. "I think he got up-and-down and one-putted four times."
Out at Westlake Country Club, the LaFayette squad had the best performance of the three area teams that qualified for the Class AAAA tournament. The Ramblers finished third at 313 and were followed by Heritage at 316 and Dalton at 328.
"Last year, we were an afterthought," LaFayette coach Tom Langford said. "All year long we wanted to be in the last group at state. We were playing with Columbus and Marist.
"I think it gave our golfers a great taste of being in the big-time."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...