A year ago, St. David’s Parker Gilliam beat The O’Neal School’s Jackson Van Paris in a 1-2 finish for the individual boys golf title at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A tournament.
This year, Van Paris won the individual crown for the Southern Pines school, but Gilliam won’t have to worry about him anymore. Gilliam is off to Wake Forest as a college player. Van Paris is an eighth-grader on the varsity with four more years of high school.
He shot a 4-under par 67 in Tuesday’s second round of the 36-hole tournament at the par-71 Mid-South Club.
He opened the tournament in windy conditions Monday with a 1-under 70 that led three players by two shots. He pulled away in 90-degree conditions to win the tournament by eight strokes over the runner-up, Cary Christian’s Luke Edwards (72-73-145).
“The best way to sum up Jackson’s tournament is he was very consistent,” said Brian Anderson, O’Neal’s golf coach and the head pro at Mid-South. “He was consistently down the middle of the fairway and in the middle of the green.”
Van Paris’s second-day round included a 5-under par 31 on the front nine despite missing an eagle putt on No. 9.
“The first day was windy, but today, the course was firm, fast and warm,” Anderson said. “That was an impressive round for an eighth-grader.”
Gilliam struggled the first day with a 77, but he didn’t finish his career empty-handed. His 151 total was one of the four low scores to help St. David’s return to Raleigh with the team title for the second straight year.
The Warriors’ 598 team total beat runner-up O’Neal’s 608 by a comfortable margin. St. David’s had been the runner-up the previous three years before breaking through in 2016.
Will Lewis posted the Warriors’ low 36-hole total (74-72-146). Will Hanna (74-75-151) and Andrew Wilmoth (74-72-151) tied with Gilliam.
O’Neal trailed St. David’s first-day total of 298 by eight shots and fell back 11 more shots on Tuesday despite Van Paris’ round. Fulton Smith, who was fourth individually, backed up Van Paris with rounds of 75 and 72 (147).
The third-place finisher in the individual tournament was Josh Bryan of Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill (73-73-146).