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Golf: North's Isbell captures Georgia PGA Junior Championship
North Forsyth rising senior Dax Isbell won the Georgia PGA Junior Championship on Wednesday at Château Élan in Braselton, carding a 2-over 218 in the 54-hole tournament. - photo by Jacob Smith

BRASELTON — Dax Isbell birdied 11 holes during the Georgia PGA Junior Championship, none bigger than the last one. 

Entering the final stretch of the 54-hole tournament Wednesday tied for the lead, Isbell birded the 17th hole and parred No. 18 to hold off Reed Sweigart by one stroke and claim first place with a 2-over 218. 

The victory qualifies Isbell for next month's prestigious Junior PGA Championship, which is July 12-15 at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky. 

"Really, it kind of sounds cliché, but today the focus was to just have fun and enjoy it," said Isbell, a rising senior at North Forsyth. "It was just a new experience to come into a round with a lead, so I just wanted to have fun."

Isbell's 2-under 70 on Tuesday positioned him atop the leaderboard and brought him one stroke above par overall. 

Sweigart matched Isbell both rounds, save for on the 9th hole, where nobody in the field was able to match Isbell.

Isbell twice birdied the hole and added an eagle Tuesday for good measure. 

"It's just a very attackable hole," Isbell said. "You can reach it in two pretty easily, so I felt like I had a good strategy and got it up and down a lot."

Isbell's eagle was one of just three across the three-day tournament.

"I had a really good tee shot on the fairway, and I actually missed it a little bit right with the hybrid," Isbell said. "I just kind of got lucky to have a putt at it, then my little 20-footer fell. It was kind of fun to make a putt."

Forsyth County was well represented at the tournament, with West Forsyth rising senior Jimmy Coleman finishing fourth with a 7-over 223 and Forsyth Central rising junior Jack Darke carding a 9-over 225 and tying for fifth. 

Coleman rebounded from a bumpy first round, playing even on Tuesday and tallying three straight birdies on Wednesday to finish inside the top five.

Darke couldn't have finished much better Wednesday. Darke birdied each of his final four holes to pull him back even and tie him for fifth place.

"We were talking about that today, actually. It was good to see some local guys show out," Isbell said. "We had fun, and it was good to see guys that you know and you're rooting for play well."

On the girls side, four Lambert golfers finished inside the top 10, led by rising junior Sara Im's 2-under 214. Im was one of only two golfers to finish under par, trailing winner Ava Merrill by three strokes. 

Im was remarkably consistent, parring 36 holes overall and all but four during Tuesday's even 72.

Averi Cline tied for fifth with a 9-over 225, while Sharon Mun tied for seventh with a 10-over 226 and Iris Cao finished tied for 10th with a 15-over 231.