The Greater Neuse River 4A Conference handed out its boys golf championships on Tuesday at Keith Hills Country Club. Naturally, they went to the strongest finishers.
Clayton won for the third time in the last four league matches to edge out Harnett Central for the team championship, while Rolesville senior Blake McShea made his nine-stroke advantage entering the final round stand up to take the individual championship.
The Comets totaled 55.5 team points on the season, just a half-point ahead of Harnett Central. Rolesville, which also had a mathematical chance at the league title on Tuesday, finished third with 53 points. That trio will join Garner as the Greater Neuse’s quartet of representatives at the 4A Mideast Regionals on Monday at The Neuse in Clayton.
The Comets finished at 313 on Tuesday with a pair of 75s from Matt Hayes and Alex Casatelli, an 81 from Brady Hooks and an 82 from Aaron Haberkorn.
“The kids have just played really solid down the stretch,” said Clayton coach Steve Moats. “We came back after spring break and just haven’t looked back, played really solid golf up and down our lineup.”
The crown has come with a young group of Comet golfers. All five who will tee up in the regional next week are freshmen or sophomores.
Hooks and Haberkorn are freshmen, while Casatelli, Hayes and Davis Lanier are sophomores.
“They’ve been scoring all year,” Moats said of his underclassmen. “To be able to finish the season the way the have is great and really promising for their future here as a team.”
McShea posted a 74, one stroke behind individual medalist Brice Connors of West Johnston.
“It’s all just been about playing consistent golf this year,” McShea said. “Staying out of trouble off of the tee and not making more trouble for myself after one bad shot.”
A conference champ as a sophomore, winning his second league title was a big accomplishment for the Rams’ senior standout.
“Last year, I saw how tough it was to win again,” McShea said. “And this year there was a lot more competition all across the conference.”
Connors’ round of 73 was his strongest of the season and sent him out of Greater Neuse River Conference play with his first medalist award in a league match.
Harnett Central finished at 317 in the match, led by Jacob Lowe’s 75 and a 79 from Cole Long. Rolesville came in at 331 with Justin Poole adding a 77 to the Rams’ tally.
Garner was fourth with Trey Capps shooting a 77 and a team total of 332. West Johnston took fifth at 346.
The four individual regional qualifiers were a trio from West Johnston – Connors, Max Leyland and Grayson Kiefer – and Knightdale’s Chris Sabestiani.