Teams don’t win trophies or medals for finishing on top of an Upper State qualifying tournament. Instead they win something more important, the right to advance to the state championship tournament next week.
The Daniel Lions will be trying for their second straight South Carolina High School League AAAA title after winning their fifth straight Upper State qualifying tournament.
The Lions topped the Upstate field with a team score of 324 in the 18 hole tournament played at The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville.
“We expected to play well, but maybe not that well,” said Daniel coach Andy Swords. “We played a couple of practice rounds here so we had a good idea of how to avoid some trouble,” said the coach.
The Lions finished in front of two other teams that will advance to the state championship at Hilton Head Island’s Shipyard Plantation course next week.
Wren carded a 368 total while BHP finished at 397.
Using a new qualifying format this year 12 teams in the Upper and Lower state posting scores below 400 advance to the championship.
AC Flora won the Lower State AAAA qualifying tournament with a 373 total.
Also finishing below the 400 cutline was Myrtle Beach 381, Hilton Head 392 and North Myrtle Beach 394.
The remaining 5 teams in the 12 team field are expected to be chosen by comparative scores in the Upper and Lower State qualifying tournaments.
Unofficially Pickens and Walhalla 401, Blue Ridge 415 and Greenville 428 from the Upstate qualified for the state championship.
The 12th team in the field is Hartsville from the Lower State shooting a 429 total.
Gracie McCoy from AC Flora was the Lower State AAAA medalist in the tournament played at the Hackler Golf Club in Conway.
“It is a little confusing, but we know we are in and we are looking forward to having the chance to repeat as state champions,” said Swords.
The Lions had to replace two golfers from last year’s state championship team, but a good group of underclassmen were ready to step into the starting lineup.
“I think we may have felt a little pressure as the defending champions at the start of the year. Our team didn’t want to be the group that let it slip away. As the year went along we took ownership and worked hard to keep the streak going,” said the Daniel Coach.
If a medal for low score would have been awarded, Kennedy McGaha would have earned it. The BHP golfer shot a 1-over par 73 to finish a shot in front of Wren’s Chloe Holder to claim the unofficial Upper State individual title.
“I hit a lot of good irons and my driver was working today,” said McGaha. “I just wanted to shoot a good score to get ready for next week,” she said.
The BHP golfer has finished third in each of the last two state championships and would like to improve a couple of spots this year.
“I really want to win a state championship. I have been working hard and I’m looking forward to the tournament,” she said.
Holder, who has won the WSCGA Junior Girls championship, the CGA Vicki Disantis championship and the Orange Jacket title would like to add a high school championship to her resume.
“I have not played in the state tournament for a couple of years so I’m looking forward to playing,” said Holder.
The official full field and the individuals who qualified for the state championship will be announced on Tuesday by the South Carolina High School League in Columbia.