05/06/09 — Saints golfer steadily improves game

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Saints golfer steadily improves game

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 6, 2009 1:47 PM

Jeremy Joyner recalled one particular round of golf during Chris Best's freshman year.

Best hit triple digits on that day and immediately looked for Joyner.

"He kept asking me how do I get better, coach?" said Joyner, who directs the Southern Wayne golf program. "He really wanted to improve his game. I knew he was a pretty good worker and I had learned a little bit about him through youth golf."

Best played steady the remainder of his ninth-grade year, but Joyner recognized the untapped potential.

A Southern Wayne alum, Joyner advised Best on course management and helped him work on his game around the green. An avid golfer himself, Joyner noticed that Best tended to work in a hurried fashion and not picture each shot on the course.

"I worked with him about thinking out each shot because Chris, at times, can get in a hurry and not really focus on the shot," said Joyner. "I offered a few pointers on the putting green and he really blossomed the last part of this year."

With Best as the leader, the Saints marched to strong finishes during the second half of Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play. Southern Wayne saved its top performance for last, placing second in the season-ending ECC Championships at Wedgewood Golf Course.

Best fashioned an 18-hole score of 81.

"Late in the season, the whole team was on the same level and our chemistry was the best it had been," said Best. "We all started playing to our potential. (But) it was a little bit too late for us a team to go to regionals.

"I came back strong and played some good rounds, and the team kind of benefited from that, too."

Best qualified as an individual for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A eastern regional, which was contested Monday at Maccripine Country Club near Pinetops.

The Saints had played a dual match at the picturesque, par-71 layout before Easter break. Best missed the non-conference affair due to attending a practice round at The Masters in Augusta, Ga.

"I don't know if that was such a good idea now," grinned Best while waiting through a weather delay at MCC on Monday. "It's a nice course with fast greens. You just have to know where to hit the ball.

"I had to guess and hit."

Best concluded his first-ever regional appearance with an 88. He carded six pars and birdied hole No. 1. Regional organizers challenged the golfers with pin placements behind bunkers or on the sides of the greens.

"I missed some putts and made some bad shots, but overall, I thought I played good," said Best. "You either make a good shot or you're either in the water or bunker.

"Playing here will give me more experience. When we come back here (for regionals) my junior year, maybe we'll make a run for it."

With a Best effort to boot.