VALDOSTA -- Valdosta High hosts the Region 1-AAAAA golf tournament today at Valdosta Country Club.

The Wildcat boys and girls teams, which have both won the last two region titles, will try to defend those titles today.

The first golfers tee off today at 10 a.m. The boys will play VCC's Plantation course first, then the Bottom course. The girls will play Bottom then Plantation.

All six region schools -- Valdosta, Lowndes, Lee County, Colquitt County, Tift County and Coffee -- will send boys teams. Valdosta, Lowndes, Coffee and Lee will compete in the girls' tournament.

Valdosta may have won the last two region titles, but it's a much different team playing today. Of the Wildcats' top four golfers last year, only senior Blake DeCesare is back.

"We're younger this year. I lost my top three from last year, but I still think we have a chance," Baker said. "At this point, I'd say it'll be four teams playing for first: Valdosta, Lowndes, Tift and Coffee. You can throw them out like dice, and whichever one plays the best has the best chance to win."

DeCesare will be one of the favorites for the boys individual title today. Last month in the Dynamite Goodloe on the same course, he shot a 71. Last year, a 71, shot by Valdosta's Dallas Miller, was the region tournament's low score.

"Blake DeCesare, Jake Corbett from Tift County and Ryan Parker from Lowndes are the last group to tee off, at 11:28. They'll be three of the favorites," Baker said.

Baker says playing at their home course should be an advantage for the Wildcats.

"I think golf may be one of the biggest home-field advantage opportunities (of any sport)," Baker said. "For example, Blake has played this course since he was nine years old. He knows every hill, every break on this course. (Our other golfers) have also played this course a number of times.

"But it will still come down to the short game. Whoever can have the least putts will probably win tomorrow. I'd say a 310 (team score) should get a team (in the top two)."

Also defending a region title will be Valdosta's Dori Carter. Carter, a junior, won last year's girls region title by shooting a 78.

In the girls' tournament, Baker guessed it will be close between Valdosta and Lowndes for the title.

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