Boys Golf

West Johnston golfers win first conference championship

cbest@newsobserver.comApril 26, 2013 

— With West Johnston’s boys golf team in the middle of its winning streak of Greater Neuse River 4A Conference matches this season and in a hot race for the title with Harnett Central, Wildcat standout Scott Freeman did something athletes are not supposed to do. He looked ahead on the schedule to the final league match of the season: April 23 at Reedy Creek Golf Course. That’s the Wildcats’ home course.

“I knew something big could happen here,” Freeman said. “Playing our last conference match on your home course with a chance to win it. I knew we had the potential to go low (scoring) here and do something as a team that we’ll always remember.”

The Wildcats did just that Tuesday, winning their seventh straight match as a team and wrapping up their first boys golf conference championship in school history.

Freeman did something special as well; he blew away the field with a 2-under-par round of 70, winning by eight strokes over Harnett Central’s Alex Holgaard, who finished second on the season individually.

West shot 330 to top Central by two shots. David Chavis added a 83 for the Wildcats, while Seth Bondurant shot 87. Ben Lacombe finished at 90.

“It’s pretty special feeling,” Freeman said of winning the conference team championship. “We knew we had the team to do it this year. It was just about us coming together and playing as well as we could.”

The Wildcats had never won a conference match entering the 2013 season, then won the final seven after tying for third in the first league match.

Chavis finished third on the season individually, while Brice Connors took ninth and Lacombe was 12th.

Garner took third in the Tuesday match and for the season. Matteo Ceyrolles led the Trojans with an 80, while Michael Otteson shot 88 and Kyle Gilman had a 90.

Otteson grabbed fourth on the season, just ahead of Ceyrolles.

Clayton was fourth on the day at 355, paced by matching 87s from Taylor Doering and Alex Owens, to claim the last available regional team berth for Pinehurst No. 6.

Matt King was the Comets’ highest finishing individual golfer in 11th.

Freeman’s Tuesday round was about as steady as the Wildcats’ play has been this season. He had 14 pars, three birdies and one bogey on a near ideal day and with near ideal course conditions at Reedy Creek Golf Course. The greens rolled so smooth that adjusting to the speed was an issue, he said.

“The greens were a lot faster than what we’ve had a lot of the season,” Freeman said. “I really putted well and that gave me a big advantage today. It was tough to get the feel early.”

Freeman knew it was going to be his kind of day on the dance floor when he rolled in a 20-footer on the par-5, 516-yard 15th for birdie.

“It was one of those where if it didn’t hit the back of the cup, it was going to go 20 feet by,” Freeman said. “That’s how hard it hit the cup.”

Knightdale was fifth in the final standings and in Tuesday’s match. The Knights will send three individual qualifiers to the regional on May 5 at Pinehurst No. 6: Justin Smith, Shawn Simpson and Xavier Pauling.

The top four individuals not on the leading four teams in the conference standings earned regional berths.

The Knights finished at 401 on Tuesday with Smith’s 88 pacing the team.

Southeast Raleigh was seventh on the season and had Jack Olson qualify for regionals as an individual entry. Robert Wright’s 91 led the Bulldogs in Tuesday’s match.

Smithfield-Selma, which will lose veteran coach Linwood Stephenson to retirement, finished sixth on the season. The Spartans were also sixth in Tuesday’s match with Miles Fleming and Will Creech sharing the scoring lead. Cooper Andrews was the highest individual finisher for SSS on the season.

East Wake fielded just two golfers in Tuesday’s match with Adam Sauls’ 98 leading the way.

Best: 919-524-8895; @dclaybest

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