The South Pointe boys golf team captured the Trojan-Bearcat-Stallion Invitational team title Saturday at Rock Hill Country Club. The Stallions finished the two-day tournament with a score of 592 to easily outpace second-place Blythewood by 11 strokes. Chris Finke fired a team-best 70 and Miles Curley shot a 71 to lead the Stallions.
Dorman sophomore Blake Kennedy defended his tournament title with a 5-under (70-69) 139. His 69 on Saturday was the tournament's low round. Kennedy said he took advantage of the course's par-5s both days.
"I don't think I had to make any putts more than four feet either day. I feel comfortable playing here," Kennedy said.
"He is has a very strong mental game and he is very disciplined," Dorman coach Lewis Terry said of Kennedy. "When he is playing well he is hard to beat."
Kennedy and Curley were tied for the lead after the first round. Curley had a four-putt double-bogey at No. 4 on Saturday. When he finished his round he figured if he didn't win, the fourth would be the hole that was going to hurt him.
Curley, a junior, recovered with birdies at the fifth and seventh holes and then ran into trouble again on the back side.
"I don't know what happened at No. 4. I missed a 10-foot putt and ended up with four putts. I had bad bogeys at 10 and 11 but got it back with birdies at 13 and 14," Curley said.
Curley is the current club champion at Rock Hill Country Club. One of the perks that comes with the title is a primo parking space near the clubhouse designated by a road sign that reads "men's club champion".
Gary Garahan, a three-time club champion himself, has a number of years on Curley and a lot of respect for the young golfer's game.
Garahan said Curley is the best player at the club because of his work ethic and referred to last year's club championship as an example.
"Curley shot 67 on that Saturday morning and a 69 that afternoon. Most players went ... for a beer when they finished but Curley went to the driving range to work on his weaknesses. That's what the really good players do."
Spartanburg's Forrest Fowler, just an eighth-grader, played with Curley in the final round after his 73 on Friday. Fowler learned that Curley was a member at the course but did not know he was the club champion.
"(Curley) said he knew the course really well," Fowler said, "and he played like he did. This was a good experience for me to play with him."
Finke finished the tournament in third-place with a (75-70) 145. His 70 was one-stroke off his best round.
"I had a lot of chances to get to a 69 or better. I hit shots good and just didn't make putts," Finke said.
South Pointe is a team with a mission this season. The team has never played in the state tournament. They want to change that by qualifying for next month's state tourney to be held at Furman.
South Pointe coach Dwayne Hartsoe assembled a challenging tournament schedule knowing this could be a special year. Earlier this month the Stallions played in the Palmetto High School Championships in Myrtle Beach. It was the team's second appearance in the tourney that annually draws schools from coast-to-coast as well as from Canada. South Pointe finished third in the championship flight.
The Stallions have three matches this week including two at Lancaster, site of the April 27 Region 4-AAAA tournament.
Among the local schools Clover finished 11th followed by Northwestern, York, Fort Mill and Nation Ford. Lancaster and Rock Hill finished 17th and 18th respectively.
The Trojan-Bearcat-Stallion Tournament, now in its 15th year, began as a 12-team tourney. Last year it expanded to 15 teams, this year 18 teams participated - the largest field yet.
1. South Pointe 592; 2. Blythewood 603; 3. Dorman 607; 4. Gaffney 612; 5. AC Flora 612; 6. Charlotte Country Day 615; 7. Spartanburg 626; 8. Wren 629; 9. Chapin 631; 10. Central 639; 11. Clover 640; t12. Northwestern 653; t12. York 653; 14. Fort Mill 659; 15. Nation Ford 673; 16. Boiling Springs 676; 17. Lancaster 698; 18. Rock Hill 742
South Pointe: Curley 141; Finke 145; Graves 148; Alex Evans 158
Clover: Andrew Ward 151; Ethan Parrish 161; Trey Croom 163; Lucas Harper 165
Northwestern: John Clinton 154; Tyler Lucas 156; Ryan Waataja 164; Rob Taylor 179
York: Lancaster 153; Daley Ballard 156; Ryan Brandenburg 165; Will Vogel 179
Fort Mill: Eberhardt 151; Matt Platt 162; Jared Piedt 162; Andrew Blum 184
Nation Ford: Corey Verhage 159; A.J. Rosengarth 167; John Neal 171; Preston Dabney 176
Lancaster: Dalton Bradley 165; Dillan Waldrop 167; Haley Heath 175; Gavin Witherspoon 191
Rock Hill: Eric Eberspeaker 162; Coble Panetti 173; Aaron McKone 189; Zachary Williams 218