Bison, Tigers punch regional golf tickets
High Point Central’s golfers would have preferred to score better Monday.
But, they played well enough at Jamestown Park for the Bison to edge Southwest Guilford for the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference’s third and final berth in the NCHSAA 4A golf regional next week at Bermuda Run.
Central joins league champ Northwest Guilford and runnerup Ragsdale.
Trailing the Cowboys by three strokes in the season standings entering the 18-hole finale, the Bison teamed for a 320 and wound up getting the final berth by two shots as Southwest ended with a 323 total.
Northwest Guilford posted the low team score with a 304. Ragsdale stayed in second for the season by finishing at 314. Central’s 320 was third, a shot ahead of East Forsyth. Glenn was sixth at 341.
East Forsyth’s Scott Campbell was medalist with a 2-under-par 70 and also took low score for the season.
Harrison Frye anchored the Bison with a par 72 to tie Ragsdale’s David Song for second but wanted to shoot more like 66 to have a chance at winning the season individual title. Matthew Benton shot 79 but was happy with his putting. Lee Sanderlin wasn’t happy with an 83 but took satisfaction in drilling a birdie on his next-to-last hole, the par-3 eighth, that put him three ahead of his Southwest playing partner and virtually clinched the Bison’s regional spot. Ryan Eskew was Central’s fourth counting scorer with an 86 that left him unhappy.
“We knew today was going to come down to the wire and it pretty much came down to the last hole like we thought,” Central coach Troy Smith said. “Harrison coming out and shooting par carried our team. He’s the staple of our lineup. He’s a kid we rely on and I’m not shocked that he did that.
“I told the guys ‘this is what makes it fun.’ We were down a stroke coming in but they rose up to the occasion. I’m proud of them and proud of the way we played.”
Frye’s 72 was the key as it was six shots better than the 78 shot by Southwest leader Zach Lance.
“I felt like the team was going to play well and 72 would probably hold us in there,” said Frye, who finished third individually for the season. “But, I knew I needed to shoot a lot lower to be in the running for player of the year. So, 72 doesn’t feel great but it feels good to know that I anchored my team in.”
Lance was hurt by double-bogeys on 14 and 7.
“It could have been a lot better,” Lance said. “On 14, I hit a good tee shot and a bad second, and on 7, I hit a bad tee shot.”
Benton’s 79 was matched by Southwest’s Sean Hardy.
“I hit 15 of the 18 greens but putting was the downside,” Benton said. “I hit my drives and irons really well. But it feels good to make regionals, It feels good to come in clutch.”
Sanderlin hit his drive on No. 8 about five feet from the hole and drained the birdie putt.
“It was a short putt but it was slick,” Sanderlin said. “Making it made the day better.”
Other counting scorers for Southwest included Devin Lanier’s 80 and Ryan Hardy’s 86. Drew Adams also shot 86 for the Cowboys.
“We had our opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them,” Southwest coach Ryan Richmond said. “It was back-and-forth between Central and us the whole match. At the end, the last two or three holes for their guys were better than ours.”
Counting scorers for Ragsdale in addition to Song included William Stenmark (79), Jacob Haslam (80) and Brett Bartko (82).
“We’re just trying to be a good team,” Ragsdale coach Dan Turner said. “We’re focused on team score not individual score so every match it seems different players are stepping. Today, we had a freshman (Haslam) shoot an 80 and he plays in the six spot.”
Trevor Blevins led Glenn with a 78. Tom Coleman and Ryan Foley each shot 84, and Peyton Kimball had a 95.
Campbell, Lance, Adams and Blevins advance to the regional as individuals.
Song finished fourth for the season, with Lance fifth, Bartko sixth, Blevins eighth and Stenmark 10th as the top 12 made all-conference.