Chesnee held a 30 shot lead over the field after the first round of the AA state championship at Cheraw State Park, but Eagles coach Kyle Scruggs told his team not to be too happy with their first round.
“We still had golf to play. I knew we were in really good shape, but golf can be funny sometimes,” said Scruggs. “I didn’t want them to go out and just hold the lead, I wanted us to try to extend the lead,” he said.
The Eagles responded. Chesnee shot an opening round 333 and cut 9-shots off that total in the second round to win their second straight state championship, this time by 69 shots.
As a Class AA school Chesnee had played up a weight class last year when the Eagles won the combined South Carolina High School League AAA-AA-A championship.
This year the SCHSL brought back the AA championship for the first time since 2015 as more schools in the classification supported girls golf teams, and the Eagles won again.
“Everyone on the team played better today (second round). It showed up in some scores while others may not have scored as well, but found ways to improve. Everyone of our golfers got better this year,” said the coach.
Olivia Roberts entered the second round trailing Akiera Sanchez from Academic Magnet in Charleston by a shot.
Roberts improved by two shots in the second round shooting a 2-over par 74 to pass Sanchez and hold off teammate Addy Parker for medalist honors.
“I knew our team had a big lead, but I wanted to play my best,” said Roberts, who last year finished third in the championship. “We didn’t know a lot about some of the private schools and the schools from the lower state so we thought we needed to have another good round just to make sure we could win,” she said.
Roberts is the younger sister of Clemson freshman golfer Sydney Roberts, last year’s medalist.
Of the five Eagle golfers, four improved their score in the second round.
The biggest improvement came from Olivia Shields who cut 9-shots off her first round total which coincidentally was the improvement of the teams score from the first to the second round.
Addy Parker cut 4-shots off her first round total and challenged Roberts for medalist honors. The Eagles sophomore finished as the runner-up two shots behind her teammate.
Parker was one of the success stories for the relatively young Chesnee golf program.
As someone who was always involved in athletics, Parker began as a First Tee golfer at the age of 6, but when she got to middle school was ready to leave the game behind and concentrate on cheering.
“I did The First Tee because I like all sports, but I was ready to give it up before Coach Scruggs told me about the golf team at Chesnee,” said Parker. “Playing on a team was much different than The First Tee and I loved it and love my teammates, we are all very close,” she said.
The second straight win for Chesnee comes in just the first five years of the program.
The Eagles finished sixth in their first season and followed it up with a pair of runner-up finishes and the two championships.
The Chesnee program began when the High School League stopped Chesnee golfers from playing on the Boiling Springs golf team.
In the past, the league had allowed student athletes to participate in sports at other schools in their district if their own school did not offer the program.
At the time Scruggs had Boiling Springs on a competitive level with state powers like Lexington and Dorman, but when the High School League ended the opportunity for students to play within the district, Scruggs moved to Chesnee to begin the now championship program.
“At the time I didn’t like it. I thought we were being penalized, but as time has gone by I see it as being a benefit to the kids who want to play golf. There is now more opportunities for girls to play golf and that is good for the sport, the schools and especially for the girls,” he said.
With a team of all sophomores and freshmen Scruggs believes Chesnee could be in position to bring a few more championships back to the school in Spartanburg County.
“We know we have to work hard to win and I believe our players are committed and will keep doing it. Now we need to find some junior high golfers who want to join the team and help us keep our success going in the future,” said the coach.
After the win the team and a large number of parents and Chesnee fans celebrated the victory.
“We have been so fortunate to have great support from our community. We especially appreciate the parents who understand what it takes for our program to be successful. We also couldn’t do this without the support of Chesnee Country Club, Meadowbrook and Cherokee National who all help us get better and win,” concluded the Eagles coach.
This year’s championship team included Roberts, Parker, Shields and Abigaile Watson, Abby Harrington and Jada Flynn.
Oceanside from Mount Pleasant finished second with Academic Magnet from Charleston in third, followed by Greenville’s Christ Church and Landrum in fifth place.
Individually after Roberts, Parker and first round leader Sanchez tied for second place with Oceanside’s Jackie Frieber in fourth and Strom Thurmond’s Carrington Knotts in fifth place.
South Carolina High School League Class AA Championship scores:
Categories: High School Golf
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