High School Golf

Unranked to start the season Hanna wins AAAAA title

By Jed Blackwell Associate Editor-Publlisher, The Golf Club

The T.L. Hanna Yellow Jackets began the season unrabked in the SC Coaches Poll, but after a strong runner-up finish to North Augusta at the season opening Red Raider Hanna made a straight line for the top spot in the poll and played their way to the South Carolina AAAAA title. (GolfClub Photo)

T.L. Hanna set a blistering pace at the 5A state golf championship played at the Carolina Country Club.

The Yellow Jackets fired an opening-day 290 to lead the field into the second round.

On Tuesday, they backed it up by doing it again.

The Yellow Jackets’ second 290 clinched the 5A team title, beating second-place Spartanburg by 11 strokes.

“It was two fantastic days of golf,” T.L.Hanna coach Eric Bona said. “Our guys just stayed resilient. We had guys get into some hard spots at certain times, but they got out of them.”

Bennett fired a two-day total of eight-under 136, with Jackson shooting a four-under 140, good for second place.

T.L. Hanna was led by brothers Bennett and Jackson Scaletta, who finished 1-2 in the race for medalist.

The Scaletta brothers fired matching rounds of 70 on Thursday, and were joined by Erik Erienkeuser and Cal Harbin, who each shot 75. Caden Olsommer also shot 75 for the Yellow Jackets.

Jackson Scaletta led Hanna to the AAAAA championship. (GolfClub Photo)

“Caden struggled a little bit early, but he made a couple birdies there at the end and came in with a 75,” Bona said. “It was kind of just like that all day. Bennett got hot early yesterday. Jackson played really well yesterday as well, and they did it again today. It was just a multitude of things. Each player is different in what they do, but as a whole, they kind of put together some of the plans from our practice round, followed them as best they could, and just kept fighting.”

While the Yellow Jackets were pretty much on cruise control in first place, the race for second between Spartanburg and River Bluff was fierce.

The Spartanburg Vikings battled River Bluff for runner-up honors and came away with a second place finish at the South Carolina AAAAA Chammpionship being played at the Carolina Country Club.(GolfClub Photo)

Jack Patrick, Spartanburg’s only senior, shot a 74 in the second round, as did Hugh Lemonds, who was one shot out of the overall lead headed into Day Two. Brady Lowry came in at 77 for the Vikings.

But the story of the day for Spartanburg was Connor Williams.

Williams had a roller-coaster day, and his back nine was something to behold. After four bogeys, a double-bogey, and a birdie left him at 40 at the turn, he steadied his game in a big way. Three straight pars opened the back nine, and then Williams caught fire. He birdied the 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th, narrowly missing an eagle at the last, and shot 31 on the back to close with a 71.

“I just stayed focused and tried to hit good shots and take it one shot at a time,” Williams said. “It’s just thinking about what you’re doing, not what you did, and just focusing on where you are.”

Spartanburg coach Todd White said he was proud of his team’s perseverance.

“I could not be more proud of the team,” White said. “They just stuck with it. There were times when I felt like a couple of them could’ve said ‘well, it’s just not going my way’. Today was indicative of the way the season went. They stuck it out, and look at what Connor Williams did on the back nine today to bump us up into the state runner-up finish. I couldn’t be more proud of what they did the entire season.”

River Bluff finished third at 16-over. Mauldin and Nation Ford rounded out the top five.

Dorman was sixth at 34-over, followed by Fort Mill, Chapin, and Lexington. Two-time defending champion Boiling Springs rounded out the Top 10.

All-State performers, in addition to the Scalettas, included River Bluff’s Ashton Eubanks and Grant Skelley, Blythewood’s Grant Paolucci, Fort Mill’s Parker Harrigan and Cam Baker, Dorman’s Casey Kosney and Will Ruth, Chapin’s Harrison James, and Spartanburg’s Lemonds.

AAAAA Championship Scores https://ccc-southcarolinaboys5astatechampionship.golfgenius.com/pages/9517795962710408680

Bennett and Jackson Scaletta finished first and second in the AAAAA State Championship at the Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg. Since there are no records of this type, the Scaletta’s may be the first brother combo to claim both top spots in a state championship. (GolfClub Photo)

Scaletta Brothers are Hanna’s One-Two Punch

There’s no question the impact that T.L. Hanna golfer Jackson Scaletta has on his brother Bennett.

“Jackson definitely makes Bennett better, because Bennett can’t drive yet,” Yellow Jackets’ coach Eric Bona said with a laugh. “Jackson gets him to the course.”

And how does Bennett help Jackson improve?

“He won’t let him leave,” Bona said. “They’ll stay out there all night, chipping and putting and working. And I’m sure that goes both ways.”

The Scalettas in turn got T.L. Hanna to the 5A state championship at Carolina Country Club.  Bennett finished the two-day event as medalist with an eight-under score of 136, while Jackson was second at 140, four-under-par.

Nobody could remember a pair of brothers finishing as medalist and runner up in the same state final. (Chesnee’s girls team had a one-two sister finish with Sydney and Olivia Roberts in 2022.)

“We’ve been talking about it,” Spartanburg coach Todd White said. “We can’t recall it happening, certainly not in 5A.”

Bennett shot an opening-round 66 and grabbed the Day 1 lead, following it up with a 70. Jackson shot 70 each day.

The pair admitted that they try to push each other on the course.

“I think originally I was a little better than him,” Jackson said. “I never really got to play with anybody that was better than me consistently. Whenever we’re out there, it’s a fight, but we have a good time.”

Bennett agreed.

“There’s a lot of work going on,” Bennett said. “After practice, most people leave around 7, but me and my brother stay out there past dark. One of us will beat the other, we’ll brag about it for a little bit, and then the other will come back and win.”

Bona sees that edge, and said it helps the team.

“I think them being really competitive individuals and working really hard pushes both of them to be better. We only expect bigger and bigger things for them in the future.”

While they’re competitive, the brothers also seem to be each other’s biggest fans.

“He’s a really good player, a really talented player,” Jackson said of Bennett. He does a good job of keeping his body together. He doesn’t mis-hit many shots. It’s just awesome to see him play so well. I’m so proud of him, and I hope he continues to do well.”

Bennett said he’s been impressed with the way his brother has handled adversity.

“He had a pretty tough year last summer, going through some hard stuff in his swing, and he didn’t play very well,” Bennett said. “Coming out and not quitting and getting out here and shooting four under at a really tough golf course is great for him.”

Bona said the brothers were great teammates, as well.

“We’re extremely blessed to have great kids, and Jackson and Bennett are part of that group,” Bona said. “They’re constantly working extremely hard out at the course.

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