A blustery wind and some key absences due to the flu bug changed the order at the top of the Class AAA Upstate Qualifying tournament.
The teams expected to make the field for next week’s state championship did, but in a different order than expected.
Seneca has been the most successful AAA team in the Upstate this fall, but the Bobcats suffered three key losses before the Upper State Qualifying tournament.
Seneca’s coach Kevin Padgett had to replace three starters who have helped Seneca to be ranked as the top Class AAA team in the state.
Padgett only had two players to sub in the lineup and the Bobcats had to play with just four players instead of five.
Seneca wasn’t the only team to have to work around the flu bug. Daniel coach Andy Swords only had to replace one player, but like Padgett would rather have his best players in the lineup.
Blue Ridge turned out to be the healthiest of the top teams at the qualifying tournament at Willow Creek.
Tigers coach Randy Cisson could sympathize with his two fellow coaches, having experienced his teams battle with the illness earlier in the season.
“We had kids get sick a couple of times during the year,” said Cisson. “We had one tournament where we could only send three healthy players and couldn’t put up a team score,” he said.
Timing is everything and with the flu bug behind the Tigers, Blue Ridge finished on top of the Class AAA Upper State Qualifying tournament.
Blue Ridge totaled 340 while Seneca finished at 341 and Daniel was third at 351.
The three teams were expected to lead the Upstate into the state championship, just not necessarily in that order.
“The wind was really tough on everyone today. I think everyone hit some good shots that got swallowed up by the wind,” said Cisson.
While there is no award or even record kept of teams that earn the top qualifying spot in the Upper and Lower state it often can be a momentum booster for the biggest tournament of the year, next week.
This will be the sixth year in a row that Cisson’s Tigers will play in the state championship.
Individuals don’t get any awards either, so just like the team an individual finishing on top of the qualifying tournament can use that momentum when the 36 hole event begins next week.
Belton Honea Path’s Emilyn Davis shot a 1-over par 73 to post the best score of the qualifier.
Her good score helped pull the Bears into fourth place in the tournament and made sure BHP would play in the state championship.
“The wind was difficult all the time,” said Davis. “I think I played about the way I have played all year. I made some good putts and chips and had a couple of bogeys, but I’m happy with the way I played, and I am excited to play in the state,” she said.
Chapman finished in a tie for fourth with Wren, Travelers Rest and Crescent will be in the field along with the top eight teams from the lower state in the final.
Three individual golfers will join the eight teams in advancing to the championship,
Kendall Graham, Peyton Weysdondorf and Alex Sakidovich will compete for the individual championship.
Scores from the Upper State AAA Qualifying tournament at Willow Creek
Lower State AAA Qualifying Results
Categories: High School Golf