The Chesnee Eagles led a group of 10 teams advancing to the AAA state championship next week in Conway at the Hackler Course.
The Eagles finished with a 318 total to finish in the top spot at the qualifying event played at Carolina Springs Golf Club in Fountain Inn.
The tournament winner does not receive any official recognition as the Upstate champion, but is generally considered to have won an Upper State title.
The Eagles were led by Isabella Britt who carded the second best round of the tournament. Britt finished at 3-over par 75 to trail Legion Academy’s Kaleigh Reinke from Rock Hill who finished at 1-over par 73.
“We did what we needed to do today and qualified for the state championship next week,” said Chesnee coach Kyle Scruggs. “We can play better and we will have to at state,” he said.
The Eagles golf program is only in its second year. Chesnee fielded a team last year that included two golfers who only took up the game before the season began.
“We have gone from barely having enough golfers for a team to upstate champions. We now have 12 golfers in the program and we are building the kind of team that can keep getting better every year,”said the coach.
In addition to Britt the top upstate AAA qualifying team included senior Caitlyn Cash who shot a 79, Paige Scruggs along with Sydney and Olivia Roberts.
In addition to Chesnee the following upstate teams will play for the state championship on October 28th and 29th.
2 – St.Joseph’s 344, 3 – Greer Middle 355, 4 tie – Catawba Ridge 368, Legion Collegiate 368, 6 – Ware Shoals 373, 7 – Seneca 376, 8 tie – Pendleton 391, Christ Church 391, 10 – Landrum.
Chapman’s Olivia Ireland shot a 79 to advance to the state championship as an individual.
Chesnee and the other upstate teams will be attempting to take the state championship from Oceanside Collegiate in Mount Pleasant.
The Landsharks have won two straight state titles and feature an all-star type team that dominated the Lower State championship. Oceanside won their qualifying tournament by 61 shots.
Oceanside is a public charter school and is not restricted to students from a designated enrollment area as most public high schools they compete against.
The school can accept students from other school districts, but those students must meet South Carolina High School League eligibility requirements to compete in sports at the four-year old school.
Four of the Landshark golfers are ranked in the top-15 of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association’s Top-20.
The school’s website promotes Oceanside as “Not college prep, but college.”
The athletic program at Oceanside and several other open enrollment public charter schools or academies have become a flash point in a growing controversy over the competitive classifications (AAA-AA etc) assigned to these non-traditional schools by the SCHSL.
Scruggs knows Oceanside is favored to win another title.
“We are going to state to play the Hackler Course. We can’t do anything about the other teams. We need to concentrate on playing our best,” concluded Scruggs.