Those waiting for Broughton High School’s group of freshman standouts to show their age on the golf course were disappointed this week.
Up by 12 strokes on a field of teams featuring more veteran lineups after Monday’s first round, Broughton did what any team with a big lead would love to do – post a performance that ensured victory.
While Southern Pines Pinecrest tried to storm into the state championship hunt at Pinehurst with a combined team score of 4-under par 284 on Tuesday, the Caps picked up a round in the 60s from a freshman, then added a pair of 73s and a 75 to win the 10th state team championship in school history.
Broughton finished at 585, three shots clear of Pinecrest. Freshman Harrison Rhoades had a 68 to lead the way on Tuesday after an opening-round 76. Fellow freshman sensation Stephen Saleeby won the individual state title with a 140.
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Five shots clear of the field after an opening 67, Saleeby came back with a 73 on the second day.
“The second day was the easy part,” Saleeby said. “I knew I’d gotten a good score out of the way. It was just a matter of going out and getting it done.”
Getting things done is what the Caps’ group of four freshman, sophomore Court Settle and senior George Kilgore have done all season.
“When we won the first tournament of the year, we knew we had a good squad,” said Broughton coach Andrew Marlowe. “We didn’t finish lower than second in any tournament after that. All year, any of our kids have been our No. 1 golfer. George Kilgore’s given us great leadership.”
The lone senior in the lineup at the state championships, Kilgore watched Saleeby, Rhoades, Preyer Fountain and Will Minton play well all year.
“They’ve played so consistently all season,” Kilgore said. “I kind of felt like they would. The way they’ve all excelled in junior golf, coming out here and playing well wasn’t anything different for them. They’re used to pressure, championship golf.”
The Caps had just one score out of their 12 in the 80s for the event.
“We knew they could preform under pressure,” Marlowe said. “We had a few guys struggle coming in today, but in team golf there’s a lot more pressure than there is in individual golf. Two-ninety-five (on the second day): that’s a great score.”
Kilgore said he and his teammates liked having the lead to sleep on for a night.
“You’d rather have the lead,” Kilgore said. “Because that means you’ve showed you can play and score well already. It takes some of the pressure off of you. We could just concentrate on coming out here and playing our games and not worry about anybody else’s score.”
Rhoades’ 68 didn’t draw raves from the youngster.
“I putted really well, but I didn’t do anything else real well,” Rhoades said. “Fourteen pars and four birdies. I just didn’t want to make any bad mistakes today, and I didn’t.”
Rhoades did roll in a 30-foot bending birdie putt on the 17th hole. He finished fourth individually after falling victim to a birdie from Ardrey Kell’s Andrew Klasing in a playoff for third place.
Kilgore and Minton both finished at 7-over, 151, for the tournament. Settle had back-to-back 75s, while Fountain was at 159 for the tournament.
“It’s special, because we’re all just so close,” Rhoades said of the state title. “We’ve played together forever, so playing together in school is nothing new for us.”
Pinecrest’s Joshua Martin had a 69 in the final round to finish second at 2-under-par for the tournament.
Charlotte Myers Park (597) and Charlotte Ardrey Kell (599) were third and fourth, respectively. Green Hope took seventh at 610. Mike Siek led Green Hope at 149, tying for 14th individually.
After a completely forgettable day on Monday, Millbrook cut 20 shots off of its team score on Tuesday. The Wildcats had Thomas Eldridge fire a 2-under-par round a day after turning in an 80. Stephen Franken shot 74 on Tuesday, six strokes better than his Monday round.
The Wildcats finished 11th, just behind Clayton, which was led by senior David Germann. Germann finished fifth individually at 1-over, 145.
Wake Forest-Rolesvillle golfers Jake Britt (tied for seventh at 147) and Neville Burton (tied for 10th at 148) both were top-10 individuals. Defending state champion Ben Griffin of East Chapel Hill also finished in that tie for 10th individually.
Broughton’s title gives Triangle-area schools 13 of the past 15 state 4A team championships.