• 41°

Local Golf: Benfield among stars at Rowan Amateur

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Attention golf fans. Shane Benfield is back.
Benfield, a former East Rowan Mustang golfer, has spent the past 10 years in Florida, but he emerged Saturday as a top contender in the 33rd Horace Billings Rowan Amateur at Corbin Hills.
Benfield is in the Final Four after beating Brian Jones 1-up.
“I grew up playing this course,” Benfield noted. “I was a junior golfer out here and I like it.”
Three of the four matches on Saturday went down to the wire:
• Benfield won on the 18th when Jones hit his tee shot out of bounds and eventually conceded.
• Keith Dorsett and his good pal Eric Mulkey were in quite a battle but Dorsett sank a pressure-packed 25-footer on the 18th hole to win 1-up.
• Defending champion Ronnie Eidson was forced into sudden death by Chuck Stockford before winning it with a birdie on the first extra hole.
The only quick finish was turned in by Mallory McDaniel, who defeated Kevin Lentz 6 & 5.
It should make for entertaining semifinal matches today, which begin at 8:06 a.m. Eidson and Dorsett will play, while Benfield hooks up with McDaniel. The winners will play for all the marbles.

While Dorsett, Eidson and McDaniel are familiar names around the Rowan County circuit, Corbin Hills pro Tim Gardner called Benfield the darkhorse.
He made a believer out of Jones. After disposing of medalist Andrew Morgan 5 & 4 in the morning, Benfield made many big shots against Jones.
“He was solid all day long,” Jones praised. “Even when he missed greens, he got up and down. He made a lot of pars that easily have gone the other way. That’s an important thing to do, especially in this format.”
Jones, who ousted Chris Sifford 4 & 3 in the morning, played great golf as well going to No. 18. But his tee shot went right and bounced out of bounds.
“I had hit my driver right all day long,” Jones said. “I wanted to get it on out there and finish it. I should’ve tried to play it safe but that’s not my style.”
When Jones’ next two shots had him still in the fairway he congratulated Benfield.
“It was back and forth,” Jones said. “He’d go up, I’d go up. We’d go even two or three holes. It was a lot of fun. I hated it ended that way, though.”

Of his sudden-death win, Eidson said, “I got lucky. I missed some short ones coming in. I was trying to give it away, it looked like. Chuck played great. He was real steady.”
Eidson beat Michael Dorsett 6 & 5 in the morning but wasn’t feeling his best after he beat Stockford.
“I felt like crap this afternoon, I tell you that,” Eidson sighed. “I want to go home, take a shower and go to bed.”

Dorsett will be Eidson’s first opponent this morning. He has already won the first leg of Rowan’s County’s triple crown, the Rowan Masters.
After making several birdies and an eagle to beat Brett Adams 5 & 4 in the morning, he found Mulkey waiting.
“I knew that was going to be a tough one,” Dorsett said.
Each made just one bogey, and when Mulkey chipped from just off the green at 18, it barely missed the cup.
“It had a very good chance to go in,” Mulkey said.
Dorsett agreed, but when it didn’t, he took a bead on his 25-footer.
“You’ve got 15 and 20-footers all day,” Dorsett said. “You’re only going to make so many of them.”
He made the one that counted.
“We never got away from each other,” Mulkey said. “It stayed tight the whole time. I just didn’t have enough at the end. He played terrific. He’s tough to beat.”

So while Dorsett and Eidson battle each other for what seems like the hundredth time, the veteran McDaniel finds Benfield as an opponent.
“I’ll do my best,” Benfield said. “It’s another day on the golf course. Any day out here beats a day of work.”
And with that, Benfield stayed on the 18th fairway where some friends met him to celebrate.
“It’s good to be back home,” Benfield smiled.
And good to still be in the title hunt on the course he grew up playing.

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation