A few weeks ago Greenville High School won the Rebel Invitational at River Falls on a cold and windy day. It probably was a good tune up for the way the spring has gone for Upstate high school teams.
It was a lot warmer, but the wind was blowing every bit as strong at the Greenville County High School Championship played at Thornblade Club.
The difference from early March to the middle of April was simple, High School golfers have learned how to play the wind and the Red Raiders did it best at the county championship.
Greenville shot a 298 total to win the County title by 4-shots over the defending champions from Mauldin.
“To beat last year’s champs (Mauldin) Christ Church and Eastside and shoot the overall best team score we have had in the last three years, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Greenville coach Andy Newton.
Greenville’s Tip Price and Hugh Faulkner both were in the hunt for medalist honors till late in their rounds.
Faulkner finished at even par, in second place, while Price carded a 1-over par 72 to finish in a third place tie with Christ Church’s William Jennings.
The Red Raiders two top golfers both had chances to win, but both golfers struggled to close out their rounds.
As well as Faulkner and Price played it was a third member of the team that was a difference maker for Greenville.
“Tip and Hugh did their thing and today they got some great help from Claiborne Mardre. He played out of his mind. He shot 73 with a couple of late bogeys. He has become one of our better players,” said Newton.
Pardon the pun, but the win puts some wind at the Red Raiders back.
“I told the team this is like the All-Star break in baseball. We now can use this win to give us confidence going forward at Wren, the Southern Cross and the state championships,” he said.
Last year Mauldin’s Major Lenning was the medalist. This year the county has another Maverick golfer as the champ.
Jay Wilkins was the only golfer in the field to finish under par. Wilkins shot a 3-under 68 in very difficult conditions.
“All year it has been really windy so I’ve learned how to keep the ball low,” said Wilkins. “I’ve learned how to play the wind to my advantage,” he said.
Wilkins used an early 25 foot par saving putt to set up his winning round.
Not only did he finish 3- shots in front of Greenville’s Faulkner for the win, but he also topped his teammate who was the defending champion.
” Me and Major (Lenning) played well. We both have played well all year. We love competing with each other. He got one last year so I had to get him back,” joked Wilkins.
With the Mavericks’ two top golfers earning a win and a tie for fifth, Mauldin missed repeating as Greenville champions by just a couple of shots.
“This year has been different. We have a younger team and we are having fun with it. Me and Major just go and play our best and see what happens,” said Wilkins.
The two Mauldin golfers, Wilkins and Lenning both made the All-County Team along with Greenville’s Price, Faulkner and Mardre. William and Walker Jennings from Christ Church also made the All County team.
Greenville County High School championship scores