Bryson Boyette saved his best for last.
The senior from Fike shot a 70 in the final round on Tuesday to finish at 143 and win the individual title by two shots in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A boys golf championship on the Red Fox Course at Foxfire Village.
Lee County’s Dalton Mauldin finished in a tie for second at 145 with Parker Chavis of South Rowan, who had held a one-stroke lead after Monday’s opening round.
“I just tried to stay in the moment and hit good shots,” said Barton-bound Boyette, who was not in the top 25 last season. “I tried not to think about any pressure. I just took one shot at a time and tried to get my best score. My short game really made the difference for me today.”
Mauldin had an even-par round on Tuesday to catch Chavis.
“I wanted to go out with a bang,” said Mauldin, who will play at Methodist in the fall. “I gave myself a shot at the end, but it just didn’t happen. I was pretty consistent with a lot of two-putts. When I’m consistent, I’m usually pretty successful.”
In the team competition, Marvin Ridge left no doubt, finishing at 615 to beat Williams by 12 strokes.
Union Pines was seventh at 652 and Corinth Holders 10th at 675.
It was a particularly sweet day for Union Pines, playing in the state tournament and in its home county to boot in its ninth season under coach and alumnus Alan Cox.
“It was exciting just to make the state final,” Cox said. “We struggled at times here. We were hoping to finish in the top five, but we didn’t quite make it.”
Freshman Joseph Pritchard shot a 155 (T-22nd) to lead the Vikings, followed by senior Dalton Wheeless at 159, senior Colten Jensen at 168, junior Nevin Bullough at 170 and senior John DeMasi at 188.
“I surprised myself a little, being a freshman beating seniors,” Pritchard said. “My irons are usually pretty good, and they were this weekend. I had played in a couple of big tournaments before but this was probably the biggest.”
Wheeless said chemistry was a key to the Vikings’ solid season.
“We’ve got five players who can shoot in the 70s,” Wheeless said. “That has helped us win a lot of tournaments. And it was a lot of fun to play in this one so close to home.”
The Two Rivers Conference champion Pirates, who finished 10th last season in their first campaign under Jeff Parker, shot a 675 to finish 10th again.
Senior Tyler Barritt was low man for Corinth Holders at 168 (T-52nd), followed by junior captain Ian Apsey at 169, junior Justin Recser at 170, junior Jake Linker at 172 and sophomore Jake Petroski at 176.
“Tyler really stepped up for us,” said Parker, whose team had won four straight regionals before coming in second to West Carteret by three strokes in the East last week. “Ian just didn’t have an Ian day. Now we just get ready for next year. The competition may be a little tougher in 4A (in the new Northern Athletic Conference), but we only lose Tyler and we get some good freshmen. I think we’ll be all right.”
Barritt had Tuesday’s best round for the Pirates at 81.
“It was a little wet, so things were slow, but it was decent overall,” said Barritt, who was a shortstop for the baseball team for three seasons before muscle tears in his shoulder effectively ended his career. “I’m happy to have been with a team that was this successful this season.”
Apsey shot an 87 on Tuesday after an 81 in the first round.
“The course was nice, and the tournament was run well,” Apsey said. “I played better yesterday. I don’t think I’d ever hit as many bad shots in my life as I did today. I had a couple of rough days.”
South Johnston freshman Eston Lee shot a 150 – including a 74 in the final round that included a double bogey on 18 – to finish in a three-way tie for 10th in the individual competition.
“I barely made the tournament, because I was the last qualifier at the regional,” said the 5-4, 105-pound Lee. “I started lessons at the Country Club of Johnston County three years ago and really liked it. My putter was really good today. I think that’s the best part of my game.”
Other area individual finishers included Ethan Faulconer of Smithfield-Selma and Zachary Ward of Northern Nash at 156 (T-27th), Joseph Cook of Nash Central at 159 (T-31st), Ben Ramos of Northwood at 161 (T-37th) and teammate Gordon Brann at 164 (T-44th), and Southern Lee’s Justin Minter at 165 (T-48th).