04/20/11 — Saints are Best

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Saints are Best

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 20, 2011 1:47 PM

DUDLEY -- There's no place like home.

Just ask Kyle Best and his Southern Wayne teammates.

Best claimed medalist honors with a 3-over par 74 and the Saints captured the team portion of the 2011 Wayne County Golf Championships contested on their home course -- Southern Wayne Country Club -- on Tuesday afternoon.

Southern Wayne compiled a four-player total of 314 -- 19 strokes lower than runner-up Rosewood. Spring Creek (336) placed third, followed by Charles B. Aycock (340), Eastern Wayne (373) and Goldsboro High (396).

"It was a big advantage (to play at home)," said Best. "I knew all the breaks on the greens, where I could miss and where I could hit it good. With a course like this, you don't have to hit it long, you have to hit it straight.

"That's what I did today."

Best, a sophomore, shot 37 on the front and back nine. The Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference player-of-the-year avenged a pair of losses to Rosewood freshman Nick Adams, who carded a 6-over par 77 in breezy, sunny conditions.

Adams started sluggishly and struggled to put shots on the fairway.

"You have to keep it out of the trees and I didn't do that too good today," said Adams. "It wasn't a case of nerves, but just a couple of bad swings. I hit it pretty decent, but couldn't putt at all ... pulling everything.

"I wasn't really worried about him (Best), I was just trying to shoot par."

Four golfers tied at 7-over par -- Dylan Mitchell (Aycock), Caleb Jones (E. Wayne), James Lancaster (Spring Creek) and Chris Best (So. Wayne). Rosewood's Blake Weaver and Will Bunch shared seventh place, while the Saints' John Taylor Graham ended up ninth.

The Gators' Paul Sullivan completed the top 10.

All six Southern Wayne competitors shot 88 or lower on a course that measured 6,270 yards from the blue tees.

"My boys played outstanding. Everybody played right where they needed to be," said Saints head coach Jeremy Joyner. "We played it all the way back (from the blue tees) in tough conditions and the boys stepped up to the challenge. You can say we had a slight advantage.

"They wanted it. I'm very proud of them."

The Saints return to action May 2 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern 3-A regional at Reedy Creek Country Club. They'll be joined by Aycock and Triton, along with individual qualifiers Jones and Hidematsu Sueki.

Meanwhile, the Eagles and the Gators return to action the same day in the NCHSAA east 1-A regional in Onslow County. Rosewood head coach Daniel Baynes hopes his team will develop some consistency and rediscover their swagger that led to a Carolina 1-A Conference championship.

The one-day, 18-hole events determine bids to the season-ending state championships the following week in the Pinehurst area.