Prep Golf: Edwards, Salisbury win county golf tournament
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — Salisbury freshman Eric Edwards remembers when he started playing golf. His father, Todd, would hit the ball to the hole and he would putt.
“Now,” Edwards laughs, “I can play it all by myself.”
The diaper dandy didn’t need dad’s help Tuesday at McCanless Golf Club. He navigated a tight course on a windy day to shoot a 67 and win the Rowan County golf championship by four strokes over teammate Troy Beaver.
In fact, the next three golfers after Beaver were Hornets: Roy Dixon (73), Alex Nianouris (73) and Clark Alcorn (76).
Alex Lee (78) became the sixth Hornet to make the all-county team with a 78.
Salisbury’s team total of 284 was 35 better than second-place East Rowan’s (319).
The easy win was a surprise to no one.
“Salisbury’s golfers are terrific,” praised Carson coach Bill Moore, whose Cougars were third (332). “It’s good for our players to play against a team that plays as well as they do. The talent pool just gets deeper and deeper, it seems like.”
Salisbury returned everyone from last year’s 2A state runnerup but to add Edwards makes this team frightening as the postseason nears. Edwards was playing McCanless for the first time.
“For the first time, to shoot that kind of score, is amazing,” Salisbury coach Dale Snyder said. “I had heard about him for three years. He’s as good as advertised.”
Edwards started with two quick birdies, saying, “That got the confidence going. You’ve got to hit it in the right spots.”
He obviously did on holes 11, 12 and 13, where he recorded three straight birdies. He coasted home with a 3-under score.
His teammates loved it, especially Dixon. A 73 would be satisfying to most, but not the defending champ. He started with a birdie, then double-bogeyed. Two birdies were followed by two bogeys.
“Well, it was kinda an up and down day,” Dixon sighed, adding he was thrilled for Edwards.
“He’s a great player and a great kid,” Dixon said.
Beaver said of Edwards’ win, “It feels great, actually. He’s been playing great all year. It helps our team tremendously.”
Beaver liked his finish. He was three-over with six to play but birdied 16, 17 and 18.
“The greens are very small,” Beaver said. “It’s a pretty difficult course.”
“It played tough with the wind,” agreed East coach Brett Teems. “But we love the competition.”
East will be back at McCanless today, going for an NPC title. The Mustangs are only three shots behind ;leader Statesville. In the county match, Mason Preslar (76) and Preston Rogers (77) were among the 10 all-county players.
Also joining the elite was West Rowan’s Jake Kennedy (76) and Matt Yates of Carson (79).
But Edwards was all the rage on Tuesday.
“It’s been a blast,” he beamed of joining the already talent-laden Hornets. “All of the competition has been fun. We have our goals set and obviously, the state championship is our biggest goal. We’ve got it going really well right now.”
Dixon may not have won, but he is still the leader of this team. And his eyes are firmly planted on the state title that slipped away on the last nine holes last season.
“We want to win the county, we want to win the regional and we want to win the state,” Dixon said. “We’ve added Eric and we’re going for it as a team.”
Dixon then told a little story about Edwards.
“We played together in middle school,” Dixon said. “He was the second seed — as a fourth grader.”
That’s back when Edwards needed Dad to start the hole.
As Edwards proved Tuesday, all he needs from dear ol’ dad nowadays is a pat on the back for being Rowan County champion.