Wake Forest senior Alex Smalley won the final three holes on Friday to defeat Patrick Cover of Huntersville and win the 47th N.C. Junior Boys Championship in match play golf at Roaring Gap Club in Roaring Gap.
Cover and Smalley swapped holes for much of the championship round. Cover held a one-hole advantage after No. 14. Smalley tied the match at No. 15 with a 7-foot birdie putt and took the lead at No. 16 with a tap-in birdie after leaving a 12-foot eagle attempt barely short. He closed out the match at No. 17 with a 3-inch tap-in par for a 2 and 1 victory (leading by two holes with one hole remaining).
It was an amazing match, Smalley said. I think we went nine or 10 holes with one of us winning a hole with a birdie. It was really back and forth.
I needed to make the putt at 15. It was downhill with a left to right break and it went in to tie the match.
Smalley said he was lucky at No. 16 when his drive, which appeared headed to a fairway bunker, bounced left and stayed in the fairway. He hit a 6-iron 215 yards to the green. He could not see the green, but was told his ball rolled to the back fringe before backing up to within 12 feet of the hole.
The tournament was a marathon with seven rounds in four days. Smalley qualified with a 1-under 70 on Tuesday and his first-round match Wednesday went 22 holes. He won his second match Wednesday 6 and 5 and took 4 and 3, and 7 and 6 wins on Thursday.
He beat Nicholas Lyerly of Salisbury 4 and 3 in the semifinals before facing Cover, the 2014 N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A champion, in the finals.
Smalley finished third in the NCHSAA championship, two strokes behind Cover and Millbrooks Stephen Franken.
The hardest part of the match play tournament, Smalley said, might have been his post-match victory speech.
I think I was under-par in every match, he said. I was hitting the ball well.
Smalley will play in a Big-I qualifier this week at Bentwinds Country Club in Fuquay-Varinia and plans to play at a U.S. Junior Am qualifier at Prestonwood.
Comet gets contract: Clayton High senior Kyle Newsome signed a one-year developmental contract with the Hampton Roads (Va.) Junior Whalers recently. The Junior Whalers are an amateur club and a member of the U.S. Premier Hockey League.
Newsome, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound wing and center, hopes to eventually sign with a college or professional club.
Newsome was one of three players selected out of 68 candidates to receive a contract with the Whalers. Hell live with a family in the Hampton Roads area for the next year and play in games from September through March.
I felt like I was doing pretty good during the tryouts, Newsome said. Then the coaches pulled me aside and asked if I could play all five matches that were scheduled that day, instead of just the three I was scheduled to play in. That was a good sign.
The Junior Whalers have sent nearly three dozen players onto the college or professional ranks.
Now I can focus on my goal, Newsome said, earning a scholarship or moving up through the junior ranks.
Mallard Creek AD: Phil Davanzo, the former Durham Jordan wrestling coach who was named athletic director at Charlotte Mallard Creek this week, said being an AD has been a lifelong dream.
Originally, he wanted to be a professional team manager and he worked with four pro teams before returning to school to get his teaching certification and entering high school coaching. He was the Millbrook softball coach for two years before going to Jordan.
At Jordan, Davanzo was David Davis assistant athletic director.
Ive applied for some pretty high profile jobs before to give the impossible a chance to happen, Davanzo said. I am going into an incredible athletic program. I thinking working with David has prepared me well.
New coaches: Athens Drive hired Uriah Bentick, 27, as its boys soccer coach for the fall. Bentick is a defender for the Carolina RailHawks and replaces Travis Seese, who will only coach the girls in the spring.
Western Harnett has promoted assistant Brad Woods as its girls basketball coach. Woods is a 2003 graduate of the school.
Ingram to join Seahawks: Former Chapel Hill High basketball standout Denzel Ingram plans to transfer from UNC Charlotte to UNC Wilmington. His father, Eddie Ingram, messaged via Facebook last weekend that Denzel would enroll in classes for the fall semester at UNCW.
Ingram, who started 10 games last season as a sophomore guard, averaged 8.1 points and was third in Conference USA in 3-point shooting percentage (44.1 percent). He played in all 28 games last season and scored a career-high 20 points against Georgia Tech.
Ingram was the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association 3A player of the year and an Associated Press all-state selection in 2012. He averaged 20.3 points as Chapel Hill finished 26-2.
Lacrosse growth: Cumberland County Schools may make some tentative steps toward adding lacrosse to its high school sports program next spring. Earl Vaughan of the Fayetteville Observer reports the system is considering adding club lacrosse at Fayettevilles Jack Britt and Terry Sanford High.
Students from other schools would be allowed to play on the club teams and if there is enough interest the sport may be added in the spring of 2016.
D. Clay Best and J. Mike Blake contributed.