NORWOOD — There’s a chance that the 1A state golf championship might remain in Surry County, but not in the same spot it’s in now.
Defending state champion Mount Airy will be back in the championships on May 8 and 9 at Whispering Pines Country Club near Pinehurst, but the Granite Bears will have plenty of competition, including some from county rival East Surry.
The Cardinals came on strong at the Midwest Regional on Monday and Tuesday at Piney Point Golf Club in Norwood, actually finishing second overall and eight strokes ahead of the Bears, a reversal of the results from the regular season in the Northwest 1A Conference, as well as last week’s conference championship meet at Cross Creek, an seven-stroke win for Mount Airy.
Alleghany High School won the regional with a score of 314, seven strokes ahead of the Cardinals, but the next three schools all represented Surry County. East Surry was second with a score of 321, with the Bears at 329. Elkin finished fourth with a score of 339.
Starmount’s Chris Fillingame won medalist honors by shooting 37-33 — 70 on the par-72, 6,520-yard course. Stephen Spencer of Uwharrie Charter was second, two strokes behind, with Dylon Wooten of Alleghany in third with an individual score of 74.
All of the top schools had multiple golfers who shot under 80. Landon Barnes of East Surry, Mount Airy’s Nabyant Wagner, Nick Smith of Union Academy and Austin Hawkins of Alleghany all shot 76. The Bears’ Sam Nester and the Cardinals’ Zeke Bruner both fired a 78. Among those with a 79 were Mount Airy’s Reagan Fitzgibbons and Noah Hill of Elkin.
Mount Airy was the only team with three golfers who broke 80, but had no one else on the team who shot better than 96. Making the different for Alleghany was that its third and fourth entries, Hunter Maines and Connor Rutherford, shot 80 and 84, respectively. East Surry’s Nos. 3 and 4 finishers were Will Felts (83) and Parker Tilley (84). All of the top teams had five golfers entered, but only the best four counted as part of the team score.
The top three teams all qualified to compete as a team in the state championships. Barnes, Bruner, Felts, Parker Tilley and Jason Moore will represent East Surry, while Mount Airy will try to defend its title behind Wagner, Fitzgibbons, Nester, Zack Hall and Drew Tilley.
Winners of the other 1A regionals included Oxford Prep with a score of 364 in the East, Franklin Academy (331, Mideast), and Community School of Davidson (the school Mount Airy beat for the 1A title a year ago) with a score of 326 to win the West. Although the courses may not have been of the same difficulty, the Midwest Regional produced the best scores overall.