Golf: Hank Robins wins Rowan Junior Open
Robins comes out on top at Warrior Golf Club
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — The list of recent Rowan Junior Open winners reads like a who’s who of local golfers, accomplished college players such as Parker Chavis, Nick Lyerly, Logan Shuping and Davis Richards.
The latest trophy-winner is Salisbury High junior Hank Robins, who shot 77-76 — 153. He’s optimistic that the prestigious title will be a springboard to similar success.
“I’ve never won a junior tournament before, so I’m looking at this as a pretty good breakthrough for me,” Robins said. “Hopefully, I can go on to some bigger and better things.”
The junior open has a unique format — 18 holes at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, followed by 18 at Warrior Golf Club in China Grove. Scores were much lower Monday at Irish Creek than they were at Warrior on Tuesday, where just about everyone ran into trouble.
“Warrior was playing very hard, mostly because the rough was really thick,” Robins said. “The key was keeping it in the fairway, just keeping it out of trouble, and I was able to do that.”
The tournament favorite was Hickory Ridge golfer Alex Heffner, who tied for fourth place in last spring’s 4A State Championships in Pinehurst. Heffner was sharp in the first round, taking the lead with a 72. Warrior Pro Brian Lee said Heffner wasn’t feeling well and withdrew Tuesday after posting a 47 for the first nine holes.
Robins shot 77 at Irish Creek and was tied for sixth, heading into Tuesday’s play, but he has quite a bit of positive experience at Warrior. He endured a shaky start with two early double bogeys, but he made his move with a flurry of birdies on No. 5, No. 6 and No. 9. He added one birdie on the back side.
“I didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Robins said. “After I made all those birdies on the front, I just played steady golf on the back nine.”
This was the 11th year that the junior open has been open to golfers outside Rowan, but Robins maintained a streak of Rowan players winning every tournament. There were 16 golfers in his age division.
Robins shot 77 at McCanless last spring to earn all-county honors. He shot 78 to tie for eighth in the 2017 Midwest Regional at Warrior and was a qualifier for the 2A State Championships.
Luke Gossert, of Matthews, Locust’s Chase Clayton and Monroe’s Karsten Shields tied for second at 156.
East Rowan junior Austin Miller shot 76-83 — 159 and placed fifth. South Rowan junior Andrew Coward shot 76-85 — 161 and was sixth.
In the girls division, East Rowan senior Camryn Corriher shot 87 on Tuesday and 189 for the tournament to win. Carmen Fraley, another East senior, was second at 105-98 — 203.
In the 14-15 boys division, Charlotte’s Aidan Brown shot 76-89 — 165 to win by one shot over Salisbury sophomore Will Fowler, who checked in at 86-80 — 166.
In the 12-13 division, Advance’s Colby Moore shot 169 for two days and won by six strokes over Kannapolis golfer Cooper Burris.
The 8-11 division played nine holes each day. Salisbury youngster Keegan Merrell was the winner, shooting 54-51 — 105.
Rowan Junior Open champions
2008 Chad Blankenbeker
2009 Troy Beaver
2010 Alex Nianouris
2011 Alex Nianouris
2012 Davis Richards
2013 Davis Richards
2014 Logan Shuping
2015 Nick Lyerly
2016 Nick Lyerly
2017 Parker Chavis
2018 Hank Robins