The scores might have been much higher than they would have liked, but the boys’ golf teams from Corinth Holders and Cleveland got what they wanted out of Monday’s 3A East Regional at Carolina National Golf Club: team berths to next week’s state championship.
Two Rivers 3A Conference champion Corinth Holders edged host West Brunswick by a stroke (332-333) for the team title. Cleveland was third at 339, earning its first team appearance at a golf state championship in the four-year history of the program.
Senior Jarred Lisec led the Rams’ third-place effort with the medalist round of 77. He made just three birdies but had only one double bogey or worse.
“My putting was definitely the key,” Lisec said. “There were some challenging pin placements. … It’s very big to be able to go to states with my team. It’s a great accomplishment for all of us.”
Lisec probably saved his individual win when he came back with birdies at his 12th and 15th holes after doubling the 10th.
Corinth Holders coach Theresa Gale had a couple of simple messages for her players before they went out and won the regional.
“I told them to try not to four-putt and to remember that every shot matters,” she said. “They had to remember that every shot was going to be crucial.”
The one-stroke margin of victory proved that point.
Nick Routhier led the Pirates with an 80, and Sam Baxter shot 81. Routhier was 10 over par at one point, then climbed back to 6-over before finishing 8-over.
“Sam was just solid all day,” Gale said. “And Monty (Fields) had a really good front nine and gave us a good score. But they all do it together as a team. It’s awesome to see them play so well together.”
Fields finished at 84 and Kellen LaBonte shot 87 for Corinth Holders. West Brunswick and Corinth Holders were the only schools that didn’t have a golfer hit triple figures in the regional. The average score on the day was 94.7.
“There were some really tough pin placements,” said South Johnston sophomore Patrick Stephenson, who was third individually with a 79. “I just couldn’t get my speed on putts right either. I think I had five or six three-putts.”
Still, Stephenson, who was a regional runner-up as a freshman, earned a state championship individual berth. Also qualifying as individuals were Wilson Fike’s Turner Garris (81) and South Brunswick’s Nicky Beecroft (81).
In addition to Lisec’s 77, Nick Brinke came in with an 83 for Cleveland and Patrick Schweitz shot 87. Morgan Berger rounded out the Rams’ team score with a 92. The Rams’ recent surge, where they won the final Two Rivers 3A Conference match of the regular season, and posted the state qualifying score Monday came after a coaching change. Former golf coach Travis Gaster had to step aside to concentrate on his new duties as the defensive coordinator at Carolina Forest in South Carolina, while Karen Johnson has assumed the lead position.
South Johnston finished seventh in the regional at 356. Brooks Skinner finished at 89 for the Trojans.
Smithfield-Selma’s Ethan Faulconer shot 89.