SANFORD — Broughton’s boys’ golf program is steeped in history, but there’s always room for a new tradition to take root.
Especially one that feels this good.
The Caps claimed their 11th N.C. High School Athletic Association title Tuesday, finishing with a two-day score of 592 to edge Southern Pines’ Pinecrest , the reigning 4A champs, by eight shots, at the par-72 Carolina Trace Golf Club.
After posing with the championship trophy, the Caps players made a beeline for the water that had been tempting them all day as they endured temperatures in the mid-90s.
“That felt amazing,” junior Preyer Fountain said.
He was talking about the water, but could have meant the title, which gave coach Anderson Marlowe a state championship on his birthday.
“That’s one of the best presents I’ve ever had,” said Marlowe, whose team shot a second-day low 300 Tuesday. “The kids were ready. They played this golf course six times before states. We came and got a lot of practice on it and became comfortable on it.”
Broughton’s junior class began to take things for granted after winning a state title as freshman. Pinecrest’s championship last season was a wake-up call.
“As freshmen, when we won states we thought (the next three years) would be a breeze. We just weren’t ready for sophomore year. We were completely prepared for this and hopefully we’ll be ready for next year,” Fountain said. “We didn’t expect to just breeze through this year.”
After shooting a second-day 68, Millbrook junior Stephen Franken was tied with Patrick Cover (72) of Cornelius Hough for first with a two-day score of 140. The two played No. 10 for their playoff hole with the individual title on the line.
Their tee shots were almost the exact same distance down the fairway. Franken’s second shot landed 15 feet from the pin, but Cover’s was even closer. He tapped in a 5-foot putt to defeat Franken.
“The pressure didn’t get to me. I was ready to go,” Franken said. “I never really gave up the whole tournament no matter how bad it got. It started off pretty badly. The first hole of the whole tournament I hit a 3-iron into the woods for an unplayable. ... I still made bogey though.
“I hit a lot of fairways today. Yesterday I didn’t really hit many fairways. I just got myself in good position and got on the greens. On my second nine, I don’t think I was outside of 15 feet. I scrambled well the whole week too.”
Fountain and fellow Broughton junior Stephen Saleeby each shot 145 over two rounds to finish in a three-way tie for fourth with Pinecrest’s Josh Martin. Martin won a playoff hole with a birdie at No. 10 despite a beautiful flop shot by Fountain that allowed him so save par after a wayward second shot.
“We had to face the adversity of last year,” said Saleeby, who also parred the playoff hole. “Last year was a big disappointment for us. We came out here with a little chip on our shoulder and we got it done. We played well.”
Wake Forest junior Alex Smalley (72-70) was third with a two-day score of 142.
“It was tough just getting into this tournament. We have so many great players in North Carolina,” Smalley said. “It’s just going to keep boost my confidence in my upcoming tournaments, and next year I’ll be able to draw back on this experience.”
Millbrook (613) was fifth as a team, with UNC Wilmington recruit Thomas Eldridge (76-76–152) and Adam Gross (80-80–160) also making the second-day scorecard.
“I thought as a team we played OK,” Millbrook coach Chris East said. “But Stephen (Franken) played out of his mind.”
Cap Eight schools were responsible for four of the top six individuals – all juniors.
Green Hope, led by Brian Chen (73-79–152), trimmed eight strokes off its first-day score to end with 634 to place sixth.
In addtion to Panther Creek freshman Viraj Garawal(75-72–147), who finished seventh, six of the top eight golfers came from Wake County.
Broughton’s Will Minton shot 148 to take eighth. Court Settle (76-78–154) was 22nd and Harrsion Rhoades (76-79–155) was tied for 23rd with Wakefield’s Cole Ray. Jimbo Stanley added a 169 (85-84).
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