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Prep Golf: Salisbury wins second straight 2A title

By Ryan Bisesi
rbisesi@salisburypost.com
SOUTHERN PINES — Alex Nianouris shook hands with North Surry’s Taylor Coalson on No. 18 at Longleaf Golf and Country Club, congratulating him on winning his second straight 2A individual championship after a sudden death playoff.
It was a odd way for Salisbury to come off a state-championship round, being that Nianouris uplifted the Hornets so many times throughout the year. But when all was said and done, Salisbury finished with a 573, well ahead of North Lincoln and a better score than last year’s state-title performance. It was another occasion too momentous to nitpick.
“The first two years we played at states, we struggled a little bit,” said Nianouris, who finished with a 140 after shooting 70 both days. “It’s fulfilling to get these last two championships.”
Salisbury became the first school to win a girls and boys title in the same academic year as the girls claimed the 1A/2A crown last fall. Since North Lincoln’s boys repeated in 2009-2010, the Hornets have answered their rival’s feat after entering Tuesday with a 13-shot advantage. They maintained a working lead throughout the second round to end up winning by nearly 30 shots.
In 2011, Nianouris defeated Coalson in the regional in a playoff for the Midwest medalist and the pair faced off Tuesday as Coalson also shot 70 both rounds.
The Davidson signee bogeyed the first two holes but fought back to 1-over at the turn. Nianouris birdied on 17 and reached par on 18 to force a playoff. Coalson connected from the fairway to get an eagle on 17 to keep pace. After it was decided 10 and 18 would be playoff holes, the duo made par on 10. Nianouris started No. 18 with a wide drive from the tee box and went short on a 10-foot putt. Coalson two-putted for par and earned the title on the par-71, 6,600-yard layout.
“If you ask him, he’ll say it won’t matter,” Salisbury coach Dale Snyder said. “It needs to matter. He’s a great kid and he’s so deserving. He had a really up-and-down round today.”
Salisbury won the team championship by another wide margin, making it not unlike one of their CCC matches. Salisbury shot 290 Monday and had the tournament-best 283 Tuesday. North was second for the second-straight year with a 604.
Salisbury threw away two 76s and were led by Nianouris’ 70 Monday, then came back stronger.
“We went to bed last night hoping we didn’t need to use those 76’s today,” Snyder said. “As it turned out, we wouldn’t have used them today either.”
Troy Beaver and Eric Edwards had strong second rounds, each shooting 69. Beaver shot 33 on the front nine and Edwards had 34 at the turn. Beaver birdied holes 3, 6 and 9 and made par on 10 through 17 before bogeying 18.
“You don’t win this tournament with one or two good players,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to have a crew and we’ve got a crew.” Snyder said.
Edwards finished third in the individual standings after a 73 Monday. The sophomore finished strong with birdies on 15 and 17 along with 3, 6 and 7.
“I was able to hit the ball closer to the hole,” Edwards said. “I didn’t have to worry about many bogies.”
Beaver, one of four Hornets playing their last high school match, was fifth with a 145. He improved his score seven shots from Monday’s 76.
“I struggled with the putter a lot yesterday,” Beaver said. “Last night, talking with my Dad, I worked on a couple things and really felt good coming into today. I’m glad my high school career ended on a high note. It was great to get two straight state championships in these last two years.”
It was a satisfying birthday for Snyder, who turned 38 and was given back-to-back ice showers after the match by his team, four of which he’ll never coach again. No word on whether he got doused twice for two straight titles.
“This senior class, the highest they’ve finished is fourth in the state,” Snyder said. “You can’t even begin to put into words what that does.”
Senior Alex Lee shot a 75 as Salisbury’s fourth-best score Tuesday and finished with a 149 for the tournament.
“I had a couple rough holes on the front side but got it back with a couple birdies on the back side,” Lee said. “I putted lights out for two days.”
Clark Alcorn had a solid Monday with a 73 and dropped back to 84 Tuesday. Joseph Rusher shot 76 in Round 1 and 85 in Round 2.
“It’s been real memorable,” Alcorn said. “It’s been a great run here.”

NOTES: The Hornets were second overall in 2010 and fourth in 2009. The Salisbury seniors capped a career with 25 straight conference match wins and three midwest region titles along with a pair of state championships…Tuesday marked the third Salisbury title since 1998…Clinton’s Festus Turlington (144) was fourth overall and North’s Miller Capps and Bunker Hill’s Tyler Lail equaled Beaver with a 145.

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