WINSTON-SALEM — Mount Airy’s golf team lost a little ground in the race for the Northwest 1A Conference title on Thursday evening, but the Granite Bears remain in the conference lead after the league’s third conference match, hosted by Walkertown High School at the Winston Lakes Golf Course.
The 2017 race has been tight so far between the defending conference and state champion Bears; Bishop McGuinness, who had won several titles in a row prior to last spring, and East Surry. On Thursday, it was the Villains’ day, as they took the match with a team score of 159, edging out Mount Airy by five strokes. The Cardinals placed third overall, shooting 169.
These results meant that the Bears’ overall lead over Bishop was reduced to seven strokes, but increased to 18 over East Surry. The conference champion is determined by the aggregate number of strokes totaled by each team over the course of the six conference matches and the championship meet. Mount Airy hosted the first conference meet on March 21 at Cross Creek, and then East Surry hosted the second, on the 27th at Pilot Knob Country Club. There will be a second meeting at Winston Lake on Monday, hosted by Atkins, and then North Stokes hosts on Thursday at the Hemlock Golf Club in Walnut Cove. Bishop will host on April 10 at Pine Knolls in Kernersville.
The conference finals will be held on April 24 at Cross Creek. Last year, the championship came down to the last nine holes of the conference final, and the Villains had taken the lead on the course before the Bears rallied to win the title. They carried that momentum into the regionals and state, winning both.
On Thursday, Mount Airy’s Nabyant Wagner did claim co-medalist honors, sharing the title with Bishop’s Matt Kelly. Both shot one-under par 35 for the day. East Surry’s Landon Barnes missed claiming a share of the win by just one stroke, shooting 36.
The teams were allowed to enter up to six golfers, with the best four scores counting for the team total. The Bears, Villains and Cardinals all entered six. Joining Wagner in the Mount Airy top four were Sam Nester (41), Reagan Fitzgibbons (44), and Drew Tilley, who tie4d with Zack Hall at 47. Brock Heck also competed for the Bears.
East Surry’s top four included Will Felts and Parker Tilley, both of whom shot 44, and Jason Moore with a 45. Drake Cruise and Carter Bouldin also competed for the Cardinals.
Rounding out the team scores in the meet were Atkins (192), North Stokes (199) and Walkertown (204). Winston-Salem Prep doesn’t have a golf team.