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Prep Golf: Salisbury romps to county championship

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
LANDIS — Know when you’re a defending state champion?
When you win your county golf championship by 41 strokes and talk about how much you can improve.
That would be the Salisbury golf team, who put five of six players in the 70s and won over second-place East Rowan on Tuesday in the Rowan County Golf Championships during a windy day at The Warrior.
Alex Nianouris was the medalist, shooting an even-par 71 for the Hornets, who won last year’s 2A state championship.
“Even-par 71 is a good score on a day like today,” praised Salisbury coach Dale Snyder. “We left a lot out there, like we’ve done for the past month. It has been a month since we’ve put any scores under par.”
Nianouris, who started on No. 10, struggled at the beginning and was 2-over after three holes. But he got back to 2-under after he birdied No. 2.
“I was really happy how I finished on the back side,” he said. “Today, I made putts when I needed to.”
Nianouris edged teammate — and last year’s champion — Eric Edwards, who finished with a 73. Edwards was asked if he and Nianouris have been fighting it out for the top spot all year.
“We’ve all been battling for medalist this year,” Edwards smiled.
They were all in it for a while. Joseph Rusher turned in a sparkling 76 for Salisbury, while Troy Beaver shot 78, Clark Alcorn 79 and Alex Lee 82.
Nianouris found his groove on the 17th and 18th before the turn. On No. 17, he hit the green in two and two-putted. On the 18th, he stuck it about five feet short of the cup.
“I’ve been playing OK in conference but not as well as I’d like,” Nianouris said. “I’m starting to play better now.”
There were nine golfers shooting under 80, including third-place Davis Richards of South Rowan, who finished with a 75.
“I hit the ball pretty good,” he said, adding the driver was the best part of his game.
Matching Rusher with a 76 was Carson’s Andrew Purcell.
Talented East Rowan battled the wind like everyone else but Conner Lowman shot 77 and James Lohr 80. Jordan Shepherd shot 81.
Jake Kennedy led West Rowan with an 80.
No one could catch Salisbury, though. But Nianouris, Edwards and Snyder all know the Hornets need to kick it up a notch. April has not been good for practice time considering the bad weather and spring break.
“I’d rather go through a little bit of a slump in early April than early May,” Snyder reasoned.
When May rolls around, Salisbury will have a bulls-eye on its back. First the regionals, then hopefully, another crack at a state title.
“The scores were a little higher than they were last year,” Edwards said of the county tournament. I think we can get it back.”
“We’re going to try and keep it rolling,” Nianouris said.
Snyder hopes so.
“The way we’re playing now is good enough to win the county tournament and the conference,” he said. “When we get to the next level, it’s going to be tough at that level. We’ve got to somehow find that game that we know we have.”
If and when they do, watch out.

NOTES: Richards’ best outing this year was a 71 at Irish Creek. … The all-county team consisted of the five Salisbury golfers who shot in the 70s, South Rowan’s Richards and Evan Neas, Carson’s Purcell, East Rowan’s Lowman and James Lohr and North Rowan’s Jesse Pinkston.

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