PILOT MOUNTAIN — Three area schools finished in the top half of Monday’s regional golf tournament and have qualified players for the state tournament.
North Surry finished third and qualified its team for the next level. South Stokes had its top three players make the cutoff and will compete as a team.
East Surry finished sixth out of 12 teams, but that still wasn’t enough to get the team qualified for state. Instead, the Lady Cardinals had two players make the cutoff, so they will compete as individuals at the state tournament.
Pilot Knob Park hosted the Central 1A/2A Regional Tournament.
While this was the same course the girls played a week ago for the conference tournament, there was a big difference in yardage, noted Mount Airy Coach Tommye Phillips.
All season long, the golfers have played from the women’s red tees. For Monday’s event, however, the girls teed off from the black tee box, making every hole longer on the par-70 course.
The red tees play 4,875 yards over 18 holes, while the black course is 5,460 yards, about one-sixth longer.
The actual distance may have been even longer than that, according to East Coach Chad Freeman. Some of the black tee boxes were back as far as the white (men’s) tees normally would be.
The course was set up to be difficult, more in line with what the girls should expect next week at the state tournament near Pinehurst, noted Freeman.
The longer distances didn’t seem to affect the best players as much as the average players, he believed.
Last week, East’s Madison Moore won the conference title with an 82. On Monday, she shot 85. Teammate Lindsay Chamblin shot a 105 last week and matched it today.
The cutoff to make the state tournament was 106, so both players passed for East.
The other Cards in the field were Elizabeth Shelton 123, Whitney Cox 123 and Brooke Bowman 131.
North Surry’s Kasie Tolbert actually improved her score by two strokes over last week despite the longer distances. She improved from 85 to 83 to finish tied for fourth overall. Teammate Gatlin Hiatt was 10th at 94, and Sarah Holleman was a stroke back at 95.
That gave the Lady Greyhounds at team score of 272, good for third place behind defending state champion Salisbury and Elkin.
Salisbury shot a 251 for a whopping 16-stroke lead over Elkin at 266.
The Lady Elks’ Mary Francis Hall was regional medalist with a 79. Teammate Annika Winebarger was third at 81.
Those two are both very good golfers and will compete for the top individual award next week along with North’s Tolbert and East’s Moore, believed Freeman.
South Stokes had an off-day, with none of its five good golfers making the top 10. However, the Lady Sauras’ top three players all made the cutoff and should show well individually and as a team, Freeman said.
“Hopefully our conference will be well represented,” he said.
Mount Airy had one golfer qualify for regional play. Senior Catherine Scott shot a 121 and didn’t qualify for the state match.
Catherine really improved over the season, and her 121 certainly wasn’t the worst score, said Phillips.
Conference play is more forgiving, explained Freeman. There is a maximum number of strokes that a player can have on any one hole.
If a girl hits into a water hazard or sand trap and starts to run up a high score, eventually she can pick the ball up and move on.
At the regional level, it is like an LPGA event where every single stroke is counted, said Freeman.
One unfortunate player racked up a 23 on a single hole, he noted.
The same format is in effect next week at the Foxfire Golf and Resort.
Conference play is only nine holes long. The conference and regional tournaments are 18 holes. The state match is 18 holes on back-to-back days.
The local golfers will compete Monday and Tuesday in the 1A/2A state event.
1. Salisbury 251
2. Elkin 266
3. North Surry 272
4. Piedmont 289
5. South Stokes 296
6. East Surry 313
7. Central Davidson 315
8. East Davidson 330
9. Ashe 339
10. Wheatmore 384
11. Providence 396
12. Gray Stone Day 420
1. Mary Francis Hall (E) 79;
2. Isabella Rusher (S) 80;
3. Annika Winebarger (E) 81;
t4. Kasie Tolbert (NS) & Grace Yatawara (S) 83;
6. Madison Moore (ES) 85;
7. Jessica Prince (Pi) 87;
t8. Victoria Hedrick (CD) & Madeline Hoskins (S)88;
10. Gatlin Hiatt (NS) 94.