High school boys golf: Hornets win Day 2, but finish third

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2024


By Mike London

MONROE — Seaforth and Pine Lake Prep tied in regulation and battled for two playoff holes on Tuesday to determine the 2A state champion for boys golf.

Ironically, the best team at Stonebridge Golf Club on a wet Tuesday was third-place Salisbury. The Hornets shot 297 on the second day of the tournament, three shots better than Seaforth and six better than Pine Lake Prep.

Unfortunately, the Hornets didn’t get the job done in Monday’s first round.

When they headed to the first tee on Tuesday, there wasn’t an ounce of pressure. They were 28 shots behind Pine Lake Prep and 25 behind the young Seaforth team that outlasted Pine Lake Prep for the team championship.

“We laid an egg on Monday, our worst round all season,” Salisbury coach Josh Brincefield said. “I tried not to pile on the guys too much because I knew they were even more disappointed than I was. But they came back strong on Tuesday. One of our parents said before the round that we’re good mudders, and that proved to be true. There was some good golf played out there, and a lot of it was played by our guys. We probably had the deepest team in the tournament and we played the way we’re capable of playing.”

A lot went wrong on Monday. The swing that Brincefield will remember was made by John McCoy, the sophomore who is the Hornets’ most consistent player.

McCoy was the individual leader in the tournament on Monday through 12 holes. He was 3-under when he arrived at No. 16, one of the easier holes on the course, a relatively short par 5 that presented birdie possibilities for McCoy, especially after he hit a solid drive.

“John was in the middle of the fairway, but the course was messy from all the rain and there was mud on his ball, and, of course, you can’t touch it. Muddy golf balls can do funny things. He hits his second shot right, it goes about 100 yards in the air, and then it goes about another 100 yards right. John played good enough to shoot 69, but one mud ball, and he winds up with a 72.”

Jackson Sparger shot 81. Sam Goodman, who had his own mud-ball adventure on 14, and Bo Brincefield shot 83s. Jacob Trainor shot 86.

Coach Brincefield viewed Goodman’s 83 as a great score. Goodman had stepped into the lineup after Warren Fesperman broke an arm playing driveway basketball over the weekend.

“Sam Goodman is our most improved player in the last year,” Brincefield said. “He’s got a really good swing, and he’s starting to believe in it.”

On Tuesday, the Hornets got started with a bang. Trainor teed off first and birdied. Then Goodman stepped up to the tee and birdied. Bo Brincefield didn’t birdie, but he was on the green in two on a short par 4 and recorded a routine par.

The day was getting off to a wonderful start — but then McCoy hit one in the lake.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Brincefield said. “So John hits one in the lake and starts his day with a double bogey. But by the end of it, he’s got another 72 and he’s even par for the tournament. He actually got back to 1-under, but then he three-putted on 18.”

McCoy finished sixth on the individual leaderboard.

The course was muddy, but the rain wasn’t awful. It was mostly a light sprinkle, except for about 20 minutes of heavier precipitation.

The Hornet who had the best day on Tuesday was Sparger. He had a career-best for 18 holes. He shot 1-under 71, 10 strokes better than the scorecard he turned in on Monday.

“He played great golf, and he’s capable of playing like that all the time,” Brincefield said. “Right now, John is the only one of our guys who looks comfortable when he’s under par. Everyone else gets a little antsy if they’re 1-under. But this could be a big step for Sparger and for our team. He shot 1-under on the biggest stage.”

Sparger tied for 20th.

Goodman shot 76 and tied for 35th. Bo Brincefield shot 78 and tied for 39th.

“One bad swing down the stretch led to a triple bogey for Bo,” Coach Brincefield said. “He actually played really well. One swing was the difference between shooting 75 and shooting 78.”

Trainor shot 83, three shots better than his Monday round.

The Hornets had four guys in the 70s. You can win a championship with those scores because not many teams are going to be able to do that.

But you’ve got to be able to do it for two days in a row. That’s the lesson the Hornets learned the hard way.

“Well, we had a lot of fun at the tournament and a lot of fun all season,” Coach Brincefield said. “Seaforth is really young and they’ve got two great players, but we’ll have all of our guys back.  I’ve given our guys their homework assignments for the summer. We’ll play a lot of tournament golf to get ready, and then we’ll try to get it done next year.”

Seaforth’s Ty Willoughby shot 67-68 — 9-under — to win the individual championship.