04/30/08 — Eastern Wayne gains ground on Wilson Hunt

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Eastern Wayne gains ground on Wilson Hunt

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 30, 2008 3:09 PM

Trailing by 17 strokes with two Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference men's golf tournaments remaining, Eastern Wayne needed to make up ground against Wilson Hunt on Tuesday afternoon.

The host Warriors did on their home course.

Senior Kyle Ham fired a medalist round of 3-over par 75 on the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course links as Eastern Wayne shaved 10 strokes off the visiting Warriors' overall lead. Hunt owns a scant 1,614-1,620 advantage heading into Thursday's final round at Lane Tree Golf Club.

"We play the course every day ... know where to hit it and where not to hit it," said Eastern Wayne senior Nick Barrow. "We just wanted to play our best and make up some strokes. (Coach Pelt) told us to play smart and do our best. I think we did."

Barrow tied Hunt's Paul Howell for second with a 76. Howell kept his six-stroke lead over Barrow in their battle for ECC golfer of the year.

Eastern Wayne sophomore Ryan Lake posted his lowest 18-hole round (80) of the season, while senior Eric Huetter contributed an 84. The four-player score of 315 was 11 strokes better than Hunt.

"I was pleased with the overall play of our three and four guys, who both did an excellent job," said Eastern Wayne coach Jerry Pelt. "We had two of the top three (scorers) and then our number four guy (Lake) did well. We're shooting good as a team."

Ham, who has signed with Mount Olive College, emerged the fifth different medalist in ECC competition this season. He recorded his second consecutive round of 75 and jumped into third place overall among the league's individual leaders.

"It's been kind of a struggle to start off with," Ham said of his season. "I think I was putting a little bit too much pressure on myself. Now, I'm not worrying about it as much and starting to play better.

"Today was good ... started off a little slow. I hit the ball pretty good, but wish I could have done better on the back (nine). I came back on the front."

Junior Heyward Jeffreys fashioned a season-low 77 and led defending conference champion Charles B. Aycock to a third-place total of 329. Austin Forrest contributed an 80, while C.P. Cranford turned in an 82. Chase Parnell supplied a 90.

The Golden Falcons kept their grip on the league's third spot overall with 1,679 strokes.

Michael Gardner solidified his top-10 standing with a season-best 78 and Beddingfield ended up fourth at 342 overall. Jesse Shimer and Cole Kratzer shot identical 83s for fifth-place Kinston (347).

Chris Best dropped in two birdies and paced Southern Wayne (357) with a season-low 86. His younger brother Kyle, a seventh-grader at Grantham Middle School, is the two-time defending Wayne County Junior Amateur champion for his age group.

"Chris has really gotten better," said Saints head coach Brad Reaves.

Nick Evans added an 86 for Southern Wayne. Teammates Will Bunch and J.T. Graham contributed rounds of 92 and 93, respectively.