The Eastside Eagles knew they had a good team returning to start the new high school season, but with two strong showings they have surprised themselves just a little.
The Eagles won their second straight tournament claiming the top spot at the Rebel Invitational played at River Falls Plantation.
Eastside finished with a 294 total to claim a 15 shot victory over the field. Dorman was second at 309 with Wade Hampton, Boiling Springs and Byrnes all finishing in a tie for third place.
Nick Dunlap from Riverside finished at 8-under par to post a 64 and win the individual title by six shots.
The Eagles were led by senior Jimmy McCollum who shot a 2-under par 70. He was joined by teammate Calahan Keever who also finished under par by shooting a 1-under 71.
“We brought back some experienced players this year and they are off to a good start,” said Eastside coach Jeff Ware. “We got some help today from the back of the lineup and that is what you need to win tournaments,” he said.
Benton Leinster shot a 76 and Aaron Westberry added a 77 to give the Eagles their second strong showing early in the season.
Ted Griffin’s score didn’t count at River Falls, but last week he helped the Eagles finish on top of a large field at the Red Raider Invitational played at Furman. The Eagles finished 8-shots in front of Dorman at that event.
“We have had good players in the past, but this year those good players are just a little better. Everyone on the team is capable of breaking 80,” said the Eagles coach.
McCollum, who made the All-Tournament team at River Falls, has been under par in all three rounds of the new season. The Red Raider tournament was a 27 hole event. McCollum was 4-under par for the first 18 holes and wrapped up the win by carding a 4-under par on the final nine holes.
The future Presbyterian college golfer won the tournament by five shots over Dorman’s Nathan Franks.
The fast start should improve the Eagles ranking in the AAAA Coaches poll. Eastside started the season in the 6th spot and should move up in the next ranking.
A newcomer to the Upstate High School ranks, Dunlap used a very effective lob wedge to set up his low scoring round.
“I hit that club within five feet all day,” he said. “I drove the ball well and from 40 or 50 yards in I didn’t miss,” said Dunlap.
The Riverside freshman moved into the district to start the school year. He had lived in Birmingham, Alabama before coming to the Upstate.
The Warrior golfer finished in a tie for firth place at the prestigious Bobby Chapman Junior last fall. Dunlap is currently ranked 24th in the national AJGA rankings.
“High school tournaments are different here and I am looking forward to a new experience,” said the Rebel Invitational winner.
The All-Tournament team included Dunlap 64, McCollum 70, Keever 71, Gaffney’s Seth Taylor 72, Chesnee’s Garrett Cooper 72, Dorman’s Nathan Franks 73.
1 – Eastside 294, 2 – Dorman 309, 3 – Tie, Wade Hampton, Boiling Springs, Byrnes 312, 6 – Mauldin 315, 7 – Spartanburg 316, 8 – Riverside 317, 9 – Gaffney 319, 10 – Chesnee 320, 11 Hanna 336, 12 – Hillcrest 340, 13 – Dorman II 347, 14 – Easley 349, 15 – Mann 352, 16 – Tie, Woodmont, Palmetto, 18 – Byrnes II 369