Garner Cleveland: Sports

July 28, 2014

Eagles send South Johnston student into U.S. Amateur

South Johnston High student Patrick Stephenson has qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship in Jones Creek, Ga. next month. Stephenson, a rising junior, finished second in a qualifying event at Keith Hills Country Club on Friday.

South Johnston High student Patrick Stephenson has qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship in Jones Creek, Ga. next month. Stephenson, a rising junior, finished second in a qualifying event at Keith Hills Country Club on Friday.

He posted a 36-hole total of 2-under-par. He shot 68 in the opening round on the Keith Hills’ Black and Orange nines. Stephenson had a wild opening nine holes in the tournament with birdies on four of his first five holes followed by bogeys on three of the next four to finish his opening nine at 1-under par.

He opened the back nine with eagles on iron shots out of the fairway on the par-4 10th and the par-4 12th.

“I thought there might be something special going on as soon as I did it the second time,” Stephenson said. “Doing it once, you can chalk up to luck. Doing it twice, I don’t know what that is.”

He had 176 yards to the pin from the fairway on the 10th and dropped a 7-iron 20 feet away from the pin. The ball tracked perfectly into the hole for a two. Two holes later, he landed an 80-yard shot with his 58-degree wedge three feet from the hole and it rolled in as well.

Stephenson finished the day atop the leaderboard with a 68.

In the final round he fell back to 1-under-par for the tournament and was in danger of falling out of the top three through 15 holes. But he birdied the 16th, then bogeyed the 17th before finishing with an eagle on the par-5, 517-yard 18th.

“I knew if I played well, I could qualify, but I never thought 142 would make it,” Stephenson said. “I thought it would take 138 or 139 to even have a chance.”

Pinehurst’s Joshua Martin, the reigning N.C. Amateur champion, was the event medalist at 5-under. Raleigh’s Harrison Rhoades also qualified for the seven-day U.S. Amateur tournament at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Frasier gets top preseason honor: Princeton High football running back Johnny Frasier is the North Carolina preseason player of the year in the North Carolina Prep Football Yearbook.

The 23rd annual publication also has Southern Durham quarterback Kendall Hinton, Durham Hillside offensive tackle Emmanuel McGirt and Cleveland defensive lineman Sterling Johnson on its 26-player first team.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Frasier ran for 3,042 yards and scored 50 touchdowns in 2013 as Princeton finished 9-4.

The publication has the football schedules of all N.C. High School Athletic Association members and write-ups on most teams.

Its preseason top 10 in 4A are Charlotte Mallard Creek, Matthews Butler, Scotland County, Greensboro Dudley, Garner, Cornelius Hough, New Bern, West Forsyth, Charlotte Independence and Wake Forest. Princeton is No. 9 in 1A.

Other Golf Notables: Southeast Raleigh High grad Sumner Tate won the Golfweek Amateur Golf Tour event at Pinewood Country Club on July 5 with a round of 1-under-par 71. It was Tate’s first appearance on the tour and his win earned him an automatic bid to the tour’s national championship event at Hilton Head in South Carolina this fall. ...

Stephenson also won the boys 16-18-year-old division at the Triangle Youth Golf Association’s Jack Ratz. Jr. Memorial tournament on July 21 at Wildwood Green in Raleigh. Stephenson posted a score of 33 in the nine-hole event.

Brady Hooks of Clayton was the runner-up with a 37 in the 12-13-year-old boys division.

Clayton’s Nicholas Routhier tied for fifth in the 16-18 division. Two other Clayton residents took third place finishes. Matthew Hayes tied for third in the 14-15 boys division and Tabatha Herzig was third in the girls 16-18 division.

The tournament was shortened to nine holes because of weather concerns. ...

Clayton golfers Brady Hooks and Tyler Dechellis finished in a tie for 17th in the stroke play qualifying portion of the N.C. Junior Boys 13-and-Under Championship on July 14 at the Asheboro City Golf Club. They finished at 9-over-par, 79.

Hooks bowed out in the first round of the first flight match play competition. Hooks advanced to the semifinals before taking a narrow 1-up loss to the eventual fight champion, Jarrell Christian of Davidson. ...

Garner’s Lee Adams and Clayton’s Joey Hatch won the Men A flight of the Carolinas Golf Association One-Day Four-Ball Tournament at Prestonwood Country Club on July 7. The duo carded a round of 67. Tate finished tied for second in the same flight, playing with Patrick Merritt of Raleigh. ...

Connor Woelfel of Clayton won a blue ribbon in putting in a Drive, Chip and Putt competition in Chapel Hill last month in the 7-9 division.

Southeast track stars to UNC Pembroke: Southeast Raleigh High grads Kayla Chavis and Michael Branch have joined the track and field teams at UNC Pembroke. Chavis was an all-academic, all-conference and all-region selection for Southeast running the hurdles and sprints (individual and relay). The daughter of Kela and Lawrence, Chavis ran on Southeast’s bronze medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team that helped the Bulldogs win the state team championship this past spring.

Branch was an all-conference selection as well. He ran on a Southeast-based 1,600 relay team that won the emerging elite outdoor national championship. He is the son of Daphne and James Branch.

Fishing nationals: Chris Chavez of Clayton and Ethan Howard of Wilson Hunt finished 22nd in the inaugural B.A.S.S. High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake and Carroll County Reservoir.

Tim Stevens contributed.

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