CLAYTON — From top - to - bottom, Corinth Holders’ boys golf team is solid as a rock. If one player has an off day, he knows has a teammate who is there to pick up the team. The Pirates had three individuals to step up their games, leading Corinth Holders to a decisive victory in the NCHSAA 2A Mideast regional tournament at Riverwood Golf Club.
Playing in less than desirable conditions throughout the day, that trio - Monty Fields, Will Stanley and Brandon Corbett - led the Pirates to a team score of 323 over the Riverwood and Deer Run nines, 19 shots better than runner-up and Northern Carolina Conference rival Bunn.
The Wildcats nipped Carrboro by one shot for runner-up team honors, as both joined the Pirates in qualifying for the NCHSAA championships Monday and Tuesday at the Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines.
Those teams will be joined by the top three overall individuals, whose squads did not qualify for the state meet, including tournament medalist Ryan Barrett of Roanoke Rapids (74) and runner-up Cody Ruth of Providence Grove.
The tournament saw several periods of steady rain, then suspended play for 25 minutes when the rains became heavier.
Fields, who was the Pirates’ No. 1 player a year ago, but has dropped to third behind newcomers Nick Routhier (82) and Sam Baxter (85), overcame the off-and-on showers that marred play.
“The clubs were wet today,” Fields said. “And you had to clean them off on every shot. Plus, the ball wouldn’t go so far as normal. It wouldn’t travel and roll.”
But he, like Stanley and Corbett, had an answer for that adversity. “I started playing a little more club and used my experience,” Fields said.Corinth Holders coach Theresa Gale said the experience of her team, and the fact it plays its home matches on the trio of layouts at Riverwood was a definite advantage.
“They know the course well,” Gale said. “And where not to hit the ball. Today it definitely was an advantage for us.”
Stanley, the team’s fifth player, said his game picked up after a birdie on No. 5 on the Deer Run layout, saying that enabled him to close out with a run of pars.
“The course was pretty good and pretty wet,” Stanley said. “We played pretty well (as a team) when it wasn’t raining. When it did rain, we just bore down and hit good shots.”
“The guys were great despite the conditions,” Gale said. “Our team scoring average this season has been 321, and today in the rain, we shot a 323 - two shots more - that’s not bad at all.”
Corbett, who has been the No. 6 player in the lineup this season, gave Corinth Holders its biggest boost when he came in with an 80, matching Fields’ tally for team low score.
“It was fun,” Corbett said. “The rain slowed us up, there was a lot of back-up. And the conditions were a little tough. I would hit high shots, and a lot of balls would plug in the course. The greens were hard to judge. They were slow when it was rainy, and fast we it wasn’t.”
Slow or fast, the greens paid dividends for Stanley and Corbett, whose 80s left them in a tie for runner-up honors behind Ruth’s 78 until Barrett turned in his 74. Kellen Labonte wrapped up the Pirates’ day with an 89, while North Johnston was represented by Hunter Pike, who carded a 67, and Jordan Capps who had a 111.