PINEHURST — East Chapel Hill junior Ben Griffin made the most of his second outing at Pinehurst No. 8 Centennial Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday, playing in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championships.
Griffin shot a 9-under-par 135 over two days, capturing his second state title in the last three years. He won at Pinehurst No. 6 in 2011 as a freshman and finished 10th at No. 8 last season.
Southern Pines Pinecrest claimed the team state championship in a playoff victory over Charlotte Myers Park, which came from six strokes back to force the extra golf. Zack Martin birdied the playoff hole to give Pinecrest (591) its first title since 2008. The past four state titles had been earned by a Wake County school.
Defending champion Broughton (598) and 2011 champ Leesville Road (614) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while Durham Riverside (623), competing in its first golf state championship, came in sixth.
I like Pinehurst a lot; the course is in great shape, said Griffin, who carded rounds of 68 and 67. I putted a lot better this year, the greens were really smooth. Im really happy with the way I played.
Griffin said the 6,698-yard course is very forgiving off the tee, which gives a golfer some leeway in not having to hit the perfect drive to score well. The Wildcats junior birdied 11 holes and recorded an eagle on the par-5 17th hole on Monday.
The course did not play as well this year for the Caps or the Pride. Broughton sophomore Stephen Saleeby, who won the 2012 championship as a freshman, finished third at even par (144). Carter Jenkins (148) led Leesville Road.
We were excited to defend our titles, but the kids struggled yesterday, Broughton coach Anderson Marlowe said. They came back today and played a lot better. We will have everybody back next year, four sophomores and two juniors.
Will Minton and Preyer Fountain each recorded 151.
Pride coach Andrew Wilkinson, whose team won both the Neuse and Buies Creek invitationals earlier this year, was also disappointed with the finish but not with his golfers.
We had high expectations coming in but Im proud of the way my guys battled out there, Wilkinson said.
Jake Hutchinson came in at 150 for the Pride.
Riverside coach Ben Huffman waited eight years to make the trip to the state tournament, and was excited for his five seniors who finished second last week in the Regionals to make that journey a reality. Senior Carson Hunt (152) birdied the final two holes to help the Pirates edge Fayetteville Terry Sanford (624) by one stroke.
Im proud of my guys, we didnt have great starts here either day but they found a way to play the second nine a lot better, Huffman said. It was a long time coming just to get here. Carson will be able to remember those two birdies for the rest of his life.
Wake Forest-Rolesville junior Neville Burton carded a 147 and Apexs Zach Smith scored a 167.