Interviews with Gaffney State Champions
Indians and Gordon set new state records
The match up between Boiling Springs and Gaffney might not have the same notoriety of a Clemson and Carolina battle, but the rivalry between the two schools for the top spot in South Carolina High School golf has been as intense.
After four years of trying to catch the Bulldogs, (two runner-up finishes and a third place finish) the Indians put everything together in a record setting performance to win the school’s second high school golf championship.
“We have had a chance the last three years and finally put it away this year, its an awesome feeling,” said Gaffney coach Brandin Coggins. “Gaffney sports is known for state championships and we are glad we can bring another one back to school,” said the coach.
The Indians held a six shot lead after the first round at the Country Club of South Carolina near Florence. Gaffney shot an 8-under par 280 total with the Bulldogs at 286.
Seniors Zack Gordon and Seth Taylor trailed defending champion Trent Phillips of Boiling Springs by a shot after the first round, but the key for the Indians wasn’t the play of their top golfers it was the support they got from the next three on the team.
Brock Hamrick shot an even par 72 in the first round and Cody Transou posted a 76 to give the Indians the lead.
“I knew if we could get Brock and Cody to shoot good rounds we had a really good chance and they did a great job in the first round,” said Taylor.
This was the first year the AAAAA schools played a 36 hole tournament rather than 54 holes as in the past. In previous years the Indians were able to either lead or stay close to the Bulldogs only to see the tournament get away from them on the final day.
Gaffney made sure it didn’t happen again this years. Led by Gordon and Taylor, Gaffney sprinted out to a big lead early in the final round.
“We wanted to get off to a hot start and build a big lead in case we made a mistake we could bounce back,” said Gordon.
The Indians got the start they wanted in the final round and they did not have to worry about a mistake.
Taylor jumped into the lead with 5-birdies on the first nine holes. Gordon stayed close carding 4-birdies. An extra bonus to help the Indians put some distance between themselves and Boliing Springs making the turn at 1-under par.
“We needed everybody on the team to play great and everybody did their part,” said Gordon.
While the Indians were building their lead Boiling Springs was having, by their standards, a very disappointing tournament.
Phillips, who was the individual first round leader, had a double bogey on the second hole and made the turn at 2-over par for the day and 4-over for the tournament.
Harrison Corbin was just off the pace of the leaders, but the rest of the Bulldogs struggled on the final day and dropped well off the blistering pace set by the Indians.
When the teams made the turn the Indians had built their lead to double digits over the Bulldogs and they did not let up on the back-nine.
With the suspense taken out of the battle for the team title all the attention was focused on the race for medalist honors.
Taylor added three more birdies on the back nine while Gordon put his game into overdrive. The future Clemson golfer added six birdies on the back side without a bogey to shoot an amazing 62.
“Zack played well all year and recently he turned it up to another level. Seth found something this past weekend at home and it carried over to this week,” said their coach.
Gordon finally pulled ahead of his teammate with a pair of birdies on the 16th and 17th hole. Another birdie on the final hole gave Gordon the competitive courser record at CCSC and tied the all-time low score of 62 on the course.
“I got a little nervous when I would look up and see Seth making anther birdie. (Taylor played, in the group in front of Gordon) I could see he was playing great and I was just trying to track him down” said Gordon.
The 2017 CGA SC Match Play champion finished off his round with a 30 on the back nine and a 2-shot victory over Taylor.
“This is a big accomplishment for me. It is something I have wanted to do ever since I started playing high school golf,” said Gordon.
Gordon’s amazing round set a number of records in the South Carolina High School league. The SCHSL does not keep records for individual rounds, but does for tournament total scores.
The Gaffney golfer broke PGA Tour star Bill Haas’, (playing for Riverside High in 2000) set a 36 hole championship tournament record of 136. Gordon had rounds of 66 and 62 for a 128 total.
The team also broke the state record for winning score in a 36 hole tournament. Haas’ Riverside team shot a 568 total which was bettered by Gaffney’s 549 total this year.
“We got the big one this time and it mean everything, we worked for this all year,”said Taylor who wasn’t disappointed finishing second to his teammate. “This is what we came here for (team championship) and we got it,” he said.
The four year chase to catch Boiling Springs ended with both teams leving their mark on golf in South Carolina.
Boiling Springs four-straight championships to go along with Trent Phillips three individual titles set a level of ecxcellence Amon g the state’s big schools.
Gaffney and Gordon’s record setting performance adds to the level of accomplishments.
“These golfers play together so much. They push each other to be better. We pushed them, they pushed us and it has made for great golf these last few years,” concluded Coggins.
- Gaffney 549
- Boiling Springs 577
- Rock Hill 583
- Wando 601
- Lexington 604
- Dorman 607
- Fort Mill 611
- Blythewood 616
- James Island 621
- Nation Ford 623