All the teams in the South Carolina High School League AAAA Classification have been chasing A.C. Flora from Columbia all year.
The Falcons finished last year as the AAAA state champions and started this year as the top ranked team in the classification.
The way Flora played in the Upstate qualifying tournament at Stoney Point Golf Links in Greenwood, it doesn’t look like the Falcons are waiting for the other AAAA schools to catch up.
Flora took the top spot in the Upper State qualifying tournament shooting an 8-over par 296 total to finish 11-shots in front of the Region III champions from Indian Land in Lancaster.
Flora coach Robert Dargan knows he has another state championship caliber team, but a win last year doesn’t have much to do with this year.
“We tell our guys last year was last year,” said the Falcons coach. “We want them to be prepared, to trust the process and just go play golf and be a little detached from the score,” he said.
The Falcon’s did just that on Monday at Stoney Point.
Led by Adam Hunt, the top individual, the Falcons placed all five of their players among the top 14 individual spots.
Hunt shot a 1-under par 71 to finish 2-shots in front of three golfers.
An indication of how strong this year’s Flora team is might come from the fact that Luke Sullivan, a future Gamecock golfer and last year’s runner-up in the SCGA Junior finished tied for 14th.
Some teams only have one way to a win. They need a great round from their top golfer every time out. Dargan believes he has five number one golfers on his team this year.
“We are very fortunate. We have five pathways to get a victory. We have some players with better resumes than others, but we have all five players who are capable of leading us to a win,” he said.
After Hunt’s finish on top, Birch Harrison and Charles Cauthen tied for fifth place at 2-over par. Coleman Ferguson finished 13th at 5-over par, one shot in front of Sullivan.
“Each one of our guys have won a medal in at least one tournament this year. They all have had a good year,” said Dargan.
The Falcons will defend their championship on their home course at Forest Lake in Columbia next Monday and Tuesday.
Mason Kucia will also be defending his individual state championship.
Last year he was a middle school golfer who beat the best high school golfers in the state for the title.
Now a year older, he is looking forward to trying to win it again.
“I think it is going to be fun,” he said. “I’ve been playing some of the best golf of my career in this stretch ,” he said.
Kucia was challenging for the lead until he bogeyed three straight holes on his back nine. He bounced back with a birdie on his final hole to tie for second at 1-over par 73..
Last year Kucia played in the state championship as an individual, this year his team finished second and will be in the field at Forest Lake.
Joining Kucia will be Deaton and Gaines Reed, Avery Sizemore and the only girl in the field, Alexia Siehl who finished tied for 11th.
Kucia has almost always been the youngest player in his group. He enjoys playing with the older golfers because they are on a path he wants to follow.
“I like to play with the older guys. I’ve been able to fit right in. A few of them are seniors and they are going DI and I hope I can follow their path,” he said.
Eastside finished third at Stoney Point. The Eagles have been around the top of leader boards often this year.
Jack Magera recovered from a double-bogey on the 14th hole to birdie two of his final four holes and finish in a tie for second at 1-over par. Benton Leinster’s 2-over par 74 gave the Eagles a second golfer to finish in the top-5.
Greenville finished fourth with an individual fifth place tie for Hugh Faulkner, while Easley’s Jace Danbom also tied for fifth to help the Green Wave advance to the state championship.
South Pointe, Greenwood and Pickens rounded out the top eight teams.
Andreas Rollins from Travelers Rest, Hunter Warren and OT Mitchell from Catawba Ridge will play as individual entrants in the AAAA championship.
AAAA Upper State scores are at https://birdiefire.com/tournament/109534/
North Augusta wins Lower State AAAA qualifier
North Augusta shot a 291 total to take the top spot in the Lower State AAAA Qualifying tournament at the Country Club of South Carolina.
1 North Augusta – 291, T-2 Beaufort and South Aiken 302, 4 Hilton Head – 316, T-5 Aiken and May River, T-7 Hartsville and Myrtle Beach
Categories: High School Golf