Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

SALISBURY — On Tuesday, as the Rowan County golf tournament began at beautiful Corbin Hills, Salisbury coach Dale Snyder was reminded how his Hornets have dominated this event for the past seven years.
Then he was asked, “Is any team closing the gap?”
Without hesitation, Snyder replied, “South Rowan.”
Ladies and gentlemen, forget about the gap. It’s closed.
Josh Vinson’s Raiders played superbly under pressure all day long, winning the title in dramatic fashion.
South finished with a score of 325.
Salisbury? 326.

“To beat Salisbury in golf … I’m so proud of my kids,” Vinson said. “That’s what we want to become. That’s why we work so hard every day.”
Vinson said he also knew coming in how much talent is in the county.
“We knew we had a chance to play well,” Vinson said. “but we knew we had a chance to come in third or fourth because there are so many good teams.”
And South was also coming off arguably its worst performance of the year on Monday in a North Piedmont Conference match.
It was time for a Vinson pep talk.
“Yesterday was the first time all year I’ve seen some tension,” he said. “I told them, ‘Just be relaxed.’ ”
Sophomore Davis Richards and junior Evan Neas took that advice to heart. Soon after the match began, Richards was fist-pumping after sinking a shot from off the green. Neas was his usual unflappable self.
When the day was done, Richards had shot 76 and Neas 78, the third and fourth best scores after East Rowan’s Logan Shuping and West Rowan’s Jake Kennedy (73s).
“They have been so consistent,” Vinson said of his dynamic duo. “They are great for each other. They push each other every day.”
But those good scores were expected. Vinson had high praise for Hunter Chapman and Josh Pope. Chapman joined his teammates on all-county by shooting an 84, while Pope shot 87.
“Evan and Davis do what they do,” Vinson said. “But (Chapman and Pope are) the ones who need to play well in order to win.”
And win the Raiders did, ending a spectacular run by the Hornets in a photo finish.
“To beat my good friend Dale Snyder — I admire what he has done,” Vinson said.
Richards’ answer was short and sweet when asked how the Raiders won Tuesday.
“We’re a good team,” he said.

NOTES: There’s no rest for the confident Raiders, who play for the third straight day today at McCanless in an NPC match. “Thursday will probably be an optional range (day),” Vinson smiled. … South has already beaten Salisbury this year. … … Salisbury placed four on all-county: Eric Edwards (79), Alex Austin (81), Joseph Rusher (82) and Abraham Pope (84). … Carson placed Matt Yates and Andrew Purcell (81s). … Shuping and Jacob Durham (84) made it from East. … Kennedy made it from West.