Hemann prevails in section event
Gregg Hemann of The Club at Jones Creek fired rounds of 69-68-137 to win the Georgia PGA's North Section Championship by two shots this week in Eatonton, Ga. Clark Spratlin of Alpharetta finished second after rounds of 74-65-139.
"That's as good as I've probably ever played, as far as back-to-back rounds," said the 39-year-old Hemann, a former mini-tour player who was playing in his second Georgia PGA Section event in the last four years.
The first round of the tournament was played at Cuscowilla Golf Club and the final round at Reynolds Plantation's Great Waters course. There were 52 pros in the tournament.
Vijay Singh, the 2000 Masters champion, is off to a fast start in one of his last chances to win on the PGA Tour this season. Singh, who is tied for the lead in the Buick Challenge in Pine Mountain, Ga., with Geoff Ogilvy after an opening 8-under-par 64, is trying to avoid his first winless PGA Tour season since 1996. After this tournament, Singh's last chance for a victory this season will come in next week's Tour Championship.
"I've not led a golf tournament in so long, I don't know what it feels like," said Singh, who has played well enough to rank as the fourth-leading money winner. "I'd really like to win. I'm going to give it a good shot."
Golfers one shot back of Singh and Ogilvy are Joel Edwards, Neal Lancaster, Mike Sposa, Per-Ulrik Johansson and Danny Ellis.
Former Augustan Charles Howell shot a 68.
Bob Gilder continued his recent stretch of solid golf Thursday, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to take the lead after the first round of the Senior Tour Championship in Oklahoma City.
Gilder, who tied for second last week at San Antonio and tied for fourth a week earlier at Napa, Calif., had a bogey-free round and was one stroke ahead of Tom Kite. Bruce Summerhays and Jim Ahern were another shot back at 3-under.
Don Reese, the final player in the 55-player field, shot a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buy.com Tour Championship in Prattville, Ala.
Reese, at 47 the oldest player in the field, birdied five of the first eight holes.
"I didn't have anything outside of 10 feet at the start," the former Troy State player said. "I was trying not to think about it as I was going along."
Australia's Rod Pampling was the only other player to break 70 in windy conditions on Capitol Hill's 7,656-yard Senator Course, the longest layout ever in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.
Area runners headed to finals
Greenbrier's boys and girls cross country teams, along with Statesboro and Thomson will represent Region 3-AAAA in the state meet in Carrollton, Ga., on Nov. 3.
Greenbrier's girls scored 32 points to capture the region title, led by Addison Price, Kayce Quarles and Blaire Peters, who finished first, second and third respectively at Wednesday meet. Lakeside's Jessica Zinskie finished fifth to qualify individually.
The Wolfpacks' boys team also took home the region title, recording 29 points to Thomson's 70. Butler's Quint Evans and Burke County's Torrell Jones individually qualified for the state finals.
Richmond Academy's boys team edged Harlem for its first Region 3-AAA crown in cross country while Jefferson County defeated the Musketeers for the girls title on Wednesday.
Havird Usry of Richmond Academy won the individual title with a time of 18:20, just ahead of Harlem's Lucas Frentzel and teammate William Batson. Jefferson County's Claire Easterlin won the girls race at 23:22, outrunning Caroline Hardy of Westside and Richmond Academy's Maggie Bohannon. All four squads qualified for the state meet in Carrollton, Ga. on Nov. 3.
Two-time champion U.S. out of Fed Cup
Saying it was worried about the "safety and lives" of its players, the defending-champion United States pulled out of next month's Fed Cup finals in Madrid.
The U.S. Tennis Association said Thursday it wasn't a good time for elite American athletes to compete abroad as a national team.
The United States is the two-time defending champion of the Fed Cup, the women's version of the Davis Cup, and received a bye into the world finals.
The team could have included No. 1-ranked Jennifer Capriati, Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles.