High school boys golf: Seniors Merrell, Sprinkle, Kepley end high school careers in 3A State Championships

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

West senior Tyler Kepley


Staff report

SOUTHERN PINES — East Rowan seniors Landon Merrell and Jaden Sprinkle turned in top-25 finishes in the 3A State Championships at Longleaf Golf and Family Club.

They were playing as individual qualifiers in the 36-hole tournament that was played on Monday and Tuesday.

“I was super-proud of both,” East coach Tinsley Merrell said. “The fought hard in some wet conditions.”

Rowan County champion Merrell shot 75-72 — 147 to tie for 16th.

He started on the No. 10 hole on Tuesday and experienced an adventurous back nine. While he made the turn at even par, he got there with with three bogeys, three birdies and three pars.

He was more consistent coming in. He birdied No. 1. Then he strung together six straight pars before bogeying the par-5 No. 8 hole in the rain. He parred his finishing hole.

Sprinkle shot 71-79 — 150 to tie for 23rd.

Sprinkle started on the No. 10 hole on Tuesday. He made four straight pars to start his round. He made one birdie and one bogey on the back nine to make the turn at even par.

Then he had three bogeys and a triple bogey on the front.

“The triple was on No. 8,” East coach Tinsley Merrell said. “It was raining so hard, he couldn’t hold the club. He hit out of bounds twice on that hole.”

West Rowan senior Tyler Kepley was an individual qualifier. He shot 79-83 — 161 and tied for 58th.

The Terry Sanford Bulldogs won the team title. The Bulldogs  shot 567, breaking the record for NCHSAA state championship golf for a few hours. Then Pinecrest shot 562 on Pinehurst No. 9 to win the 4A state title.

Stuart Cramer’s Rich Wills won the individual championship with rounds of 67 and 69. Wills’ 136 is the sixth best championship score in NCHSAA history.

Thirteen golfers finished under par.

Lake Norman Charter finished sixth in the team scoring. Northwest Cabarrus was eighth. Northwest’s Talan Harrison shot 73-69 — 142 and tied for sixth. Northwest’s Cooper Burris shot 69 on Monday but an 80 on Tuesday pushed him down the leaderboard. He tied for 20th.