Over the last few years teams from the Upstate have dominated the South Carolina High School League boys championships.
The victories at the end of the regular season carried over into the post-season’s South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star matches.
This year the championships were a little more evenly divided between the Upper and Lower State and the All-Star Matches at the Litchfield Country Club on May 21-22nd were more competitive.
“We got to see some very good golf between two teams that were pretty even,” said South Coach Jeff Schafer from Sumter. “Our guys meshed well together and I could see that as soon as we had our first meeting,” he added.
The first round format was modified alternate shot and ended in a 2-2 tie.
Putting combinations together in the Ryder Cup style matches is the key to success and a little luck helps.
“We knew some of the guys were from the same schools or knew each other and we had some good pairings to start and the boys didn’t want to make any changes in the next round,” said the South coach.
In the second round, playing four-ball matches, the South took a lead they never gave up ending the first day with a 5-3 advantage.
“It was friendly, but competitive and our guys did some things they might not try in a regular tournament,” said North assistant coach Andy Newton from Greenville.
Jay Wilkins from Mauldin had a difficult lie in some mud and took a big swing. He got out of trouble, but ended up covered with mud.
St. Joseph’s Joey Clary took off his shoes and socks to take a swing from the edge of a pond and save a shot.
The South also had their share of interesting shots.
Schafer remembered one in particular that made a difference in the final outcome.
Wando’s Edward Orr was in a tight match when he found his ball up against a root off the fairway.
“It looked like his best chance was to play backwards, but he got his club on the ball and hit a great shot to the green. He won the hole and helped us win the singles,” said Schafer.
While the final score was 10 1/2 for the South and 5 1/2 for the North it was a winning weekend for both teams.
“I can’t say enough about the course and Litchfield,” said North head coach Mickey Deering from Byrnes. “The course was just perfect for this kind of an event, lots of risk reward type holes that made it a lot of fun for the boys and Litchfield took great care of us,” he said.
The North’s Wilkins and Boiling Springs’ Walker Greene both led the Upper State team’s effort by winning all their matches..
Graduations at some schools meant a few seniors, who would have been expected to be All-Stars, could not take advantage of the year end weekend event.
“There were some players we offered the opportunity to be here and had conflicts, but the guys who came were very good players and they got into the matches, had fun and competed,” said Deering.
The All-Star event was the last for Deering who retired form coaching the Rebels at the end of the school year.
The winning South team included head coach Schafer and assistant coach Jeffery Babin from Cane Bay.
The South players included Evan Pricket from Fox Creek, Chapin’s Jay Locker, Shannon Campbell from Phillip Simmons, Edward Orr from Wando, Jake DelBusse from Socastee, Jonathan Cowell from St. Jame’s, Nolan Hawkins from Hilton Head and AJ Martino and Josh Traylor from Summerville.
The North Team was coached by Deering and Newton with team members Wilkins, Green, Clary and Landon Sutton from Wren, Adam Fennell from Ninety Six, Nick Smith from Pickens, Nick Aisei from J.L. Mann and Max Vischer from Daniel rounding out the North team.
All-Star Match scores