East Rowan girls breeze to county golf title
Mustangs roll to county championship
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — Break out the erasers.
Anyone who had East Rowan senior Carmen Fraley penciled in to repeat as the county’s girls golf champion received a mild surprise Thursday at McCanless Golf Club.
Fraley shot an 84 and tied for first overall with teammate Camryn Corriher as the Mustangs captured their second straight county title.
“The girls earned this,” coach Rhett Teems said after East’s 261 total strokes bested runner-up Carson (323). “They’ve played well all year long. They basically went undefeated in conference play and now they’ve won the county.”
East placed six golfers on the all-county team along with with Carson junior Sophia Brown. But it was Fraley and Corriher who led the charge.
“It’s nice to be co-champion,” said Fraley, the highly decorated player who is spending the weekend hunting in Illinois. “I’d rather it just been me, but it feels great to repeat. Camryn’s really good. She’s beaten me in the last two (North Piedmont Conference) matches.”
Fraley and Corriher took opposite paths to the winner’s circle. While Fraley sent her opening drive off the course and needed seven strokes to complete one hole, Corriher birdied her first — the par-4, 260-yard No. 4 — and shortly later, her fourth (No. 7).
“On my first shot, I drove it like 50 yards from the hole,” said Corriher, third in the county a year ago. “Then I had a really good pitch and four-foot putt to the hole. I thought, ‘This is going to be a good day.’ I wasn’t mad anymore. I was excited.”
Fraley soon righted herself and also birdied two holes. On the par-4 14th, she placed her tee shot 56 yards from the pin, steered clear of danger and drained a perfectly placed 10-footer. Later, on the par-4 No. 16, she nearly converted a spectacular 25-foot putt.
“I remember, I hit my drive right to the fringe,” Fraley said. “At that point I was actually putting for an eagle, but my shot hit the pin and bounced out. Just tough luck.”
Brown, who was paired with Fraley, substantiated the account. “Oh, she had an amazing drive that hit the edge of the green,” she said. “Then that great putt for eagle that came oh-so-close. I felt bad for her.”
Teems didn’t witness the shot, but offered insight to Fraley’s steely mindset.
“In three short years, she went from here to here,” he said, positioning his hands some three feet apart. “It happened almost overnight. In one year, she’s gone from winning the conference, being player of the year, winning the county player of the year to maintaining all that. Good thing is she doesn’t show emotion out there. You can’t be a head case on the golf course.”
Corriher, a senior who tied for 35th in last year’s 3A state championship, capped her wonderful start with an unlikely birdie on the par-4 seventh hole. Remarkably, her tee shot traveled 270 yards and cleared the flag.
“I drove it right off the green,” she laughed afterward. “I can hit it that far every time, but that was too long. I chipped back onto the green and made like a two-foot putt.”
Corriher’s strength hasn’t caught Teems off-guard.
“I’ve had her for four years and she is one of the steadiest players I’ve ever coached,” he said. “She’s like Carmen in that she keeps herself under control, but she’s long, sneaky long. She doesn’t look like she swings that hard, but she stays down on the ball and comes through it, she gets a lot of length out of her swing.”
So does Brown, who carded a 93 and tied for third place with East’s Victoria Lewis. A two-time all-county performer, Brown said struggled with her putting, stating she “had a couple of birdies that turned into pars.” She added: “I had a bad headache about halfway through. I couldn’t put the puzzle pieces together. I was hesitant to use my driver because I was afraid to miss greens. So I switched to my hybrid because it gives me more control over the ball.”
First-year Carson coach Randy Davis said the warm temperatures and 18-hole format took its toll on the Cougars.
“Around the greens, we were a little lacking,” he said. “Our putting wasn’t up to par. Our nine-hole scores weren’t that bad, but everyone started falling back after that.”
Everyone except the co-champions.
NOTES: North Rowan and West Rowan had three combined entrants and didn’t receive team scores. Salisbury and South Rowan did not field teams this season. … The 3A state regional is scheduled Oct. 15 at Greensboro National.
EAST ROWAN (261) — Carmen Fraley 84, Camryn Corriher 84, Victoria Lewis 93, Hailey Fesperman 94, Emma Callahan 101, Megan Graham 104, Mansi Patel 110, Gracie Hudson 111, Anna Hester 124.
CARSON (323) — Sophia Brown 93, Kaiya Addison 110, Kate Carter 120, Savanna Charles 124.
Other participants — Anna Everhart (North) 121, Reya Shaw (North) 127, Kaylan Adams (West) 129.
Fraley (East), Corriher (East), Lewis (East), Brown (Carson), Fesperman (East), Callahan (East), Graham (East).
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