LEXINGTON — West Davidson has been pushing two-time defending 2-A state champion Salisbury all year and the Central Carolina Conference rivals played to a dead heat for the conference championship.
In fact, Salisbury had to make up nine strokes in the final regular-season match.
The Green Dragons had put away Salisbury by 16 strokes during a match at Sapona Ridge Country Club on April 8. West figured to have the home course advantage on Thursday with the Midwest 2-A regional tournament being played at Sapona Ridge.
But Salisbury had something to say about that.
With two golfers shooting in the 70s, the Hornets won the regional by 10 strokes over West. Salisbury finished with a 315 total, followed by West (325), Cuthbertson (329), East Davidson (344), North Surry (345), Starmount (365), Forbush (365) and North Stanly (368). Cuthbertson joined Salisbury and West in reaching the state tournament.
But the Dragons still got what they wanted — a berth in next week’s 2A state tournament. Salisbury enters the final match winners of the last two state championships and the last four Midwest regionals.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have,” said the Dragons’ Andrew Kahn, who shot an 81. “But bottom line is we qualified for the states. That’s what really matters.”
The state tournament will be played Monday and Tuesday at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines.
Nathan Curry led West with an 80 while Logan Herman matched Kahn with an 81 and Matt Brittain shot an 83 to round out the top four from which the team score was derived. Austin Pleasants carded an 86 and Kendall Kruse, playing in place of the injured Zach Michael, had a 99.
It wasn’t a victory but it was good enough because the point most of all was advancing.
“Absolutely,” said West coach David Klinkoski. “I’m very proud of the kids. Very thankful to Sapona Ridge for letting us host the regionals. The course was beautiful today, beautiful weather. I think the kids really enjoyed it. Salisbury played very, very well today. They deserved to take home first place. We’re still very happy to take second place and we’re going to the states. That was the goal.”
Jesse Robertson of West Stokes, playing as individual, was the medalist with a 74.
Salisbury’s Eric Edwards was right behind him with a 75 and Joseph Rusher shot a 78. Those two scores were ultimately the difference between Salisbury and the Dragons. Alex Austin and Christopher Queen both shot 81 to round a balanced effort.
“We graduated a lot of talent but we came here to prove that we still belong,” said Salisbury coach Dale Snyder. “We graduated four incredible golfers but we proved today that we’re still at the state level and hopefully this is a springboard for next week.”
The tournament was originally scheduled for Monday but postponed because of heavy rain. Kahn shot even par 36 in the nine-hole match on April 8 but scores ran higher than might have been expected Thursday.
“The course plated really tough today,” Snyder said. “It’s still wet from all the weather we had. The pins were in some brutal spots. We started off on the back, which is the toughest of the two sides. Alex was at plus-five after the first three holes and still made an 81. Eric had two double-bogeys in his first eight holes and he still finished four-over. We played well today.”
To bridge the gap next week, the Dragons will need some lower scores but they felt that was doable.
“If we all pull together, if me and Nathan go low, the next two can be at 81 or 82,” Kahn said. “If we all pull together, that would be nice.”
His coach agreed.
“We have depended on those two all year long,” Klinkoski said. “Also, it’s going to take four scores. We’re going to depend on Austin, we’re going to depend on Matt, we’re going to depend on Logan and we’re going to depend on Kendall. It takes four out of six.”
Wes Cline led East Davidson with an 83, followed by Justin Wood (84), Tyler Hunt (87), Scott Swaim (90), Bryce Deweese (97) and Jake Fowler (97).
Central Davidson had three golfers playing as individuals. Chris Crews shot 90, Chase Blankenship shot 92 and Austin Cooke 95.
Lexington’s Patrick DeZego shot 108.
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