Towards the end of the high school golf season Chesnee girls coach Kyle Scruggs allowed himself some time to wonder how the season might turn out for the Eagles.
“Last year we were ahead of Gilbert just about the entire year, but when it came to the state championship they played great and beat us,” Scruggs recalled. “I’d sure like to think we could do the same thing to them this year,” he said.
Scruggs had a good imagination and a better golf team because the Chesnee Eagles were able to do exactly what their coach hoped they could accomplish.
Chesnee turned the table on the defending state champions and brought the first state golf title back to the Spartanburg County School in only its third year of play.
The Eagles held a three shot lead over Gilbert after the first round. The Indians had earned the respect of the Eagles after the long season and the Chesnee golfers knew they would have to battle to the finish for a win.
There was no Knute Rockne speech before the girls teed off in the final round, Scruggs just asked his players to remember a couple of things.
“We said our prayer and I asked them to take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time and never give up on a shot,” he said.
Chesnee saw its lead grow to 14 shots in the second round before the defending champions showed why they were champions.
“They really came after us on the back nine today. It got closer than I would have liked it to be,” said the Chesnee coach.
Gilbert pulled within six shots on the back nine.
The Indian’s Kennedy Gooding made three straight birdies to lead the back nine charge that allowed Gilbert to make it a race to the finish.
The Eagles closed out their round with solid play to win the state title by 7-shots.
Chesnee carded a 602 total to Gilbert’s 609
“It is a little crazy the way things worked out,” said Chesnee’s AAA medalist Sydney Roberts. “Last year we were seeded number one and they beat us and this year they were seeded number one and we beat them. It is crazy, but I’m glad it worked out this way,” she said.
Roberts, who will play college golf at Clemson next year, has been the leader of the team for all three years.
The last two year’s she finished as the individual runner-up in the state championship.
Roberts jumped out to a 4 shot lead after the first round, but didn’t get off to a good start in round two.
“I had to go to the 12th hole before I made a birdie. My putter was cold, but I got it going late and was able to finish with an under par round,” she said.
Roberts finished with a 2-under par 70 for a tournament total of 8-under par 136 to win by 6-shots.
Gilbert’s Gooding, who will play college golf at Anderson University, finished with a 2-under par 142 total to be the runner up.
“I’m happy to finally get the win in the state, but the way I feel now is more relieved,” said Roberts.
Before the tournament Gilbert had used a little deeper team to score tournament wins and finish in front of the Eagles, but in the championship all five Chesnee players played their best.
“That is what you want, you want your players playing their best in a championship like this. Last year Gilbert played their best and won, this year we played our best and that helped us win,” said Scruggs.
Robert’s sister Olivia finished in third place with a two day total of 1-under par 143.
Addy Parker shot an opening round 76 to help the Eagles take the lead while Olivia Shields improved in her second round and Abigail Watson had a hand in securing the first state golf title at the school.
“I’m so happy for Sydney that she could finish up her high school career with a championship. I know she is going to do great things at Clemson,” said Scruggs.
Waccamaw finished third at 655 with Seneca in fourth at 657, Aynor fifth at 667 and BHP sixth at 691.
While Scruggs will certainly miss Roberts great play and leadership he believes his returning players, including three ninth graders who were on the championship team, gives Chesnee a chance to once again be competitive next year.
“Before we left I told all the girls to remember the feeling because that is what we want to work for next year,: concluded Scruggs.
Blythewood finishes great year with AAAAA championship
Maybe the only way Bythewood would not have won the South Carolina AAAAA golf championship is if the bus broke down on the way to the course.
The Bengals have been the dominant team in almost every tournament they entered this year and showed how strong they were with a 43 shot victory in the state championship played at the Country Club of South Carolina in Florence.
The Bengals held a comfortable 17 shot lead going into the final round, but put the hammer down on the last 18 holes to shoot a 1-under par 287 total for the day and a 7-over par 583 total for the championship.
It was easy to see how the Bengals dominated the championship four of the Blythewood golfers finished in the top eleven.
Paige Paolucci was third at 3-under par with Carolina Hawkins finishing in fifth place. Ella Stalvey tied for sixth place and Elizabeth Madden was 11th.
Isabella Rawl from Lexington claimed her second AAAA individual championship.
The future Clemson golfer trailed first round leader Ivy Schulze from Anderson’s Hanna High School by a shot.
After an even par front nine Rawl, who won the state championship in the 2018-2019 school year, made four birdies in her final six holes to finish 1- shot in front of Adrian Anderson from St. James.
Rawl shot rounds of 69 and 68 for a 7-under par 137 total while Anderson posted identical 3-under par 69s each day.
Rawl is the fourth straight individual champion from Lexington and the ninth Wildcat golfer to be a state medalist.
First round leader Schulze fell back in the final round t tie for tenth.
Scores from the South Carolina AAAAA Championship https://birdiefire.com/tournament/72027/
May River repeats as AAAA State Champions
Class AAAA Top-10 teams 1) May River 639, 2) Hilton Head Island 683, 3) Catawba Ridge 688, 4) Pickens 689, 5) Flora 693, 6) North Myrtle Beach 707, 7) West Florence 717, 8) Bluffton 755, 9) Greenwood 770, 10) South Aiken 773.