Harry Lambert and Christopher Guglielmo have a few butterflies, but both are ready to represent the Peach State on the golf course.
Lambert, a rising senior at Lambert High, and Guglielmo, a rising senior at South Forsyth, will compete in the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match, scheduled for July 20-21 at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee in Eatonton.
The 37th annual event will showcase eight of each state’s top male amateur junior golfers as they compete for a team championship.
"It’s a huge deal to me to represent Georgia," Lambert said. "College coaches will be there and you get golf bags and shirts.
"This is something I was shooting for in the beginning. Every time I play I try to get better."
Georgia won 14 of the first 19 competitions against South Carolina, but the two states have eight victories apiece since the format switched to match play in 1995. The lone tie in the history of the event occurred in 2010.
Lambert and Guglielmo — friends off the course — qualified for this year’s competition when they tied for fifth place at 1-over-par against 144 competitors on June 20 in the Georgia Junior Championship at the Doublegate Country Club in Albany.
Although there is not an individual award for the upcoming Georgia-South Carolina competition, the winners have their names engraved on a plaque and the winning state gets to host the tournament the following year.
Guglielmo will have experience on his side for the Georgia squad. He played in the tournament last year, where he lost his first match, but Georgia eventually won. The experience he gained last year will help him be more comfortable this year, he said.
Although South Carolina boasts quality players, Guglielmo is confident that Georgia will win the championship again.
"[South Carolina] had a strong team last year with a couple of guys going to Clemson, and we still crushed them," Gugliemo said. "We are going to win it again."
Lambert tries to play in 15-18 tournaments each year, but this will be his first time participating in the Junior Challenge Match. He has played golf since he first learned how to hold a club and credits his father for his passion for the sport.
"I really like playing in tournaments because you meet new people and nothing is the same," Lambert said. "I’ve learned to keep my cool when playing. It’s very important to stay calm and not throw your clubs. You need to stay composed."
Though Guglielmo has a slight edge in experience over his friend, he has never played the course at Cuscowilla. To prepare himself for the tournament, he plans to carry a notepad during the practice round and record his observations about the greens and other different characteristics of the course.
Guglielmo, who plans to play golf at Kennesaw State University next year, wants to make a name for himself in the golfing community.
"I want to see how far I can take it," he said.
"I’ve realized that putting is one of the most important things. You can’t win or go far without putting."
Lambert and Guglielmo share the same goal — to not only win the Junior Challenge Match, but to improve as golfers.