MYRTLE BEACH — A lack of practice didn’t stop Surry Community College from winning the first golf match of the season over the weekend.
The Knights’ men’s team beat out four other community college teams in two days of play near Myrtle Beach.
SCC played both Saturday and Sunday against Johnston, Louisburg and two squads from the Apprentice School of Newport News, Va.
The Knights didn’t just win, the team blew out the competition by 34 strokes.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” said Coach Tom Pendergraft. Not that the team could win, but that the guys could win by so much without getting any practice time.
Some of these other schools haven’t had all the snow that Surry County has had, noted Pendergraft. The teams had several days of practice before the tournament.
Still, Pendergraft had a good feeling going in.
“I felt comfortable at the driving range, watching my kids hit the ball the first day,” he said.
The girls didn’t play in this event, but Pendergraft took six men down. The seeding from top to bottom was Ryan Wilson (North Stokes), Chandler White (from Clemmons), McKinley Johnson (West Wilkes), Dalton Berry (transfer from Avery University), Matthew Snow (Surry Central) and Ryan High (Surry Central).
While all six men played, only the top four scores counted toward the team total.
Pendergraft said he was hoping to reach 300, but knew it would be tough for the top four to average 75 without practice.
Still, the team just missed that mark on the first day, getting a 306, well ahead of the competition.
SCC finished with a 626, the Apprentice School’s A team shot 660, Johnston 690 and Louisburg 748.
On the first day, the third seed, McKinley, had the top score at 73, the coach said. Wilson was second with a 75 at Carolina Shores in Calabash.
Wilson and High both placed in the top five of last year’s conference tournament, so the coach is expecting good things from them as well as the rest of the squad.
Johnson and Wilson each shot 76 on the second day to finish first and second overall.
The second day was at Coastal Carolina’s home course, Hackler, and the scores were higher overall, the coach said.
Pendergraft said he was very happy to see the medalist honor go to Johnson, the Hugh Chatham scholarship recipient.
As for the rest of the team, White shot 78-80 (158), Berry 87-87 (174), Snow 80-88 (168) and High 84-90 (174).
On Friday, the boys and girls both travel to Anderson Creek Golf Club in Pinehurst for a match that will include SCC’s competition for a spot in nationals. Pendergraft noted that the boys have made the nationals three straight years, and this year the team has a good chance to make it for both the men and women.
The Knights picked up North Surry’s all-conference stars Kasie Tolbert and Gatlin Hiatt this year.
The distances are longer for college events than in high school, but the coach still thinks both can qualify for nationals.
The women’s event will be held in Daytona, Fla., while the men compete in Plymouth, Ind.