High School Golf - Falcons and Warriors pulling away
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 11, 2006 2:00 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Ryan Campbell and his Charles B. Aycock teammates proved Lane Tree Golf Course is undoubtedly "Home Sweet Home" on Monday afternoon.
Campbell fashioned a season-low 1-under par 71 and helped the Golden Falcons emerge the team leader after four of six regular-season Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference matches. C.B. Aycock posted a season-best, four-player total of 311 and gained a two-stroke advantage over county rival Eastern Wayne.
The Warriors, who carded a 324, entered the day with an 11-stroke lead.
ECC newcomer Wilson Hunt finished third at 345, followed by Southern Wayne (362) and Wilson Beddingfield (373). Kinston completed the six-team field with a score of 392.
"You have to protect your home turf," said first-year Aycock coach Jay Westbrook. "I think we saw today, on our home course, that hard work has paid off for us. I'm proud of the boys for coming out here and playing some of the best rounds they've played all year."
Campbell collected five birdies on the 6,304-yard layout and seized his third individual title of the season. A four-year starter and senior, Campbell leads Eastern Wayne sophomore Kyle Ham by eight strokes -- 219-227 -- in individual-match play. Ham turned in an 18-hole round score of 74 and matched his season-low output in conference play.
"Ryan and I are good friends," said Ham, a returning state qualifier. "I want to play good and give him a challenge ... a battle. It's good to play him because he's improved a lot over the last year."
Aycock's Will Vinson ended up third overall with an ECC-best 75, followed by teammate Austin Forrest, who fired a season-best 78. Eastern Wayne teammates Nick Barrow and Miles Perry rounded out the top five individuals with scores of 80 and 83, respectively.
"These guys know how to play the course without my advice," said a grinning Westbrook. "We're a big-hitting group and like the long ball. (This course) plays to our favor. They went out there today and did very well."
Campbell got off to a great start and birdied two of the first three holes. He wound up in the bunker on the par-5, No. 10 and ended up losing one stroke. Despite the misfire, the out-spoken and intense Campbell found some momentum on the next few holes, and nearly posted an eagle on No. 14.
Staying up and down the rest of the round, Campbell concluded the day 1-under on the front nine and even on the back nine.
"I'm pretty happy with the round, but it could have been better," said Campbell. "It was windy at times ... kind of swirling. The greens are rolling a little better and have been better the last week because they've been aerated.
"Give them another two weeks and they'll be in good shape."
Those unforgiving greens and a few tree-lined fairways forced golfers to hit with some accuracy. Vinson encountered trouble on the par-4 ninth hole after lofting his tee shot near the cartpath and watching it drop behind three trees.
Vinson escaped any further damage by using an 8-iron to hit under one tree and get over another tree. His near-perfect shot landed less than 20 feet left of the pin, which was placed at the front of the green -- less than two feet from the edge and anchored by two bunkers.
Vinson earned par on the challenging 386-yard hole and continued his steady play the rest of the afternoon.
Ham, who is a member at Lane Tree, experienced some difficulty on occasion. He agreed the course tests golfers who don't play it on a daily basis.
"It's a thinking course and you have to put it in position on each hole," said Ham, who earned medalist honors in the first ECC match of the season. "You've got to know where to hit it."
Ham birdied the par-3 No. 13 and par-4 No. 17, and finished 2-over on the final three holes. On No. 13, he used a low iron to hit onto the green for an easy putt. On the 17th, he hit his driver long and lob-wedged onto the green for another soft putt.
"I was able to get it close," said Ham.
Eleven golfers shot 86 or lower in the five-hour match.
Brad Davis led Southern Wayne with an 86, while teammate Casey Best carded a 90. Kevin Kornegay contributed a 91 and Ryan Roberts registered a 95.
Cole Stoiber and Robert Byrd each shot an 85 for Hunt. Edward Cayton provided a team-best 87 for Beddingfield, while James Walker recorded a team-low 86 for Kinston.
C.B. Aycock will carry its two-stroke advantage into Easter Break before the next ECC match scheduled Apr. 17 at Walnut Creek. The teams play at Falling Creek the following afternoon and conclude regular-season play April 20 with the conference championship meet at Willow Springs CC in Wilson.
"A great day," said Westbrook. "I think they were real excited to come home and play, and get us back into the conference race, which is one of our team goals. We get one more (player) to step up and we can give Eastern Wayne a run for its money down the stretch."
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