10/26/05 — Aycock golfers qualify for state tournament

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Aycock golfers qualify for state tournament

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 26, 2005 2:20 PM

On a day where breezy conditions dictated high scores, golfers who participated in the Classes 1-A/2-A/3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association Eastern Regional remained focused on their single goal -- survive and advance.

Wilson Fike sophomore Amy Otteson emerged the lone golfer to record a sub-80 round on the par-72 Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course layout Tuesday afternoon. Otteson fashioned a 6-over 78 and claimed medalist honors after finishing runner-up a year ago.

Fike seized the team title with a two-player total of 159 over 18 holes of play. Brooke Newell paced Charles B. Aycock (183) to a runner-up finish, followed by Topsail (188) and Nash Central (190). All four teams qualified for the two-day NCHSAA Championships slated next Monday and Tuesday on the West Course at The Country Club of Whispering Pines.

"I think me and Kelli (Forbis) both struggled a little bit today, but we did good to come out with second," said Newell, who fired an 89. "I'm really happy with it."

Forbis, who grabbed medalist honors in all six Eastern Carolina Conference tournaments, carded an uncharacteristic 94. The Golden Falcons finished behind Fike for the fifth time this season in either dual-team or tournament play.

A total of 21 players extended their respective seasons an extra week. Included in that group are Eastern Wayne junior Melissa Ricker (98), Southern Wayne sophomore Jordan Hill (102) and Spring Creek sophomore Paula Webber (94).

Tight, tree-line fairways and challenging par threes presented numerous tests on an unseasonably cool day. Also, the 18-hole format favored players who had consistently played front and back nines all season. Newell, Forbis and their ECC counterparts competed in nine-hole rounds during regular-season play.

"I started off kind of slow ... not very good," said Newell, one of 34 underclassmen in the 42-player field. "I gradually started to warm up and I missed a lot of putts that I could have made.

"It definitely helps because if you have an extra nine, it gives you a chance to recover. I had two or three bad holes at the end, but I was good in the middle and if I had just nine (holes), I wouldn't have been able to recover."

Gusty winds forced players to add at least a club or two on numerous holes.

"It was rough today. You don't want to hit anything real high because the wind will take care of it," said Newell. "There are so many trees. You have to keep it pretty straight here because the fairways are narrow."

Newell carded a 42 on the front nine and 49 on the back side. She birdied the par-5 No. 9 and par-3 No. 12 holes, but left a birdie putt short on the par-3 No. 16.

Otteson recorded birdies on No. 1 and 16, and eagled the par-5 18th.

"From my practice round, I had to change a lot of clubs, but other than that, I think I played really well," said Otteson. "I finished the last three holes well and really had to work for my score.

"If it wasn't for putting today, I don't know what my score would have been. I was draining some."

Ricker, Hill and Webber each shot in the high 40s on the front nine. Webber tallied a 46 on the back nine, while Ricker and Hill each finished in the low 50s.

Fike's Casey Narron and Topsail's Jessica Gay battled in a one-hole playoff to determine the regional runner-up. Narron, a sophomore, earned par while Gay bogeyed the par 5 hole.

Notes: GMGC will play host to next year's regional. ... Spring Creek, which finished unbeaten (9-0) in regular-season play, ended up fifth in the 13-team field. ... Gator junior Janelle Archer just missed qualifying for the state tournament by one stroke. The 21-player cutoff was 108.