SCC finishes second, Wilson tied for first in golf

Jeff Linville Staff Reporter

November 7, 2013

ROCKY MOUNT — Surry Community College finished second as a golf team, and Ryan Wilson tied for first place in the league championship over the weekend.

Louisburg College hosted the Region X Fall Championship at the 7,095-yard Belmont Golf Course.

Sandhills Community College took a 16-shot lead on the first day in nice weather.

While 16 shots sounds like a lot, that is just four shots to make up for each of the four players that count toward the team score, explained SCC Coach Tom Pendergraft.

Unfortunately, the weather turned colder and wet on the second day, and scores fell for most players.

Sandhills slipped from 290 to 307, SCC went from 306 to 320 and Patrick Henry from 313 to 325.

Wilson led after the first day with a 70, but fell to 76 on the second day. Still, that tied him with Sandhills’ Cody Roberts (72-74) for medalist honors with a 146.

Wilson and Roberts went to a sudden-death playoff format to determine the regional champion.

The two players shot the same score on two holes before Roberts won by a stroke on the third hole.

The Knights had two players in the top five as McKinley Johnson, a freshman from East Wilkes, finished fourth.

McKinley has shot as low as 71 this season, but didn’t start off well this weekend, said Pendergraft.

Johnson shot 78 on the first day, but played much better on Day Two despite the rain. He scored 74 to tie Roberts for the lowest second-round total. He finished with a 152, just six strokes off the lead.

Matthew Snow was SCC’s third-best finisher. He shot 78 and 84 for a 162.

Pendergraft said Matthew has been seeded sixth and seventh this season, but he placed the young man in the fourth spot for this tournament because he has been improving.

Snow very well might have shot two days in the 70s, except for a scoring issue on the par-5 10th hole.

Matthew’s tee shot went off the fairway into the woods, the coach said. Worried that he might not find that ball, Snow hit a provisional tee shot — a ball that would only be used if the first ball was not located.

Unfortunately, he was nervous by then and hit the second shot deep into the woods and was forced to play a third ball.

Pendergraft said he walked over into the woods and saw Snow’s first ball near a red stake. That marker showed that this was a “lateral hazard,” which meant that Snow could take the ball back out to the fairway — parallel to where the ball landed — and only have to suffer a one-stroke penalty.

Another coach argued that Snow couldn’t use the first ball since he already had played not one, but two provisional balls.

Snow ended up playing the third ball and suffering a massive penalty that gave him a 10 for the par five.

Pendergraft said he should have advised Matthew to play both the first and third balls all the way to the hole and record both scores. Then the rules committee could determine which score would count toward his total.

At the end of the day, the rules committee said Pendergraft was right, and Snow didn’t have to play the third ball, but by then it was too late.

The Knights’ fourth score came from Kirk Casstevens, who shot 80 and 86 on the two days.

One player who struggled for SCC was Surry Central graduate Ryan High.

Ryan did not have a great tournament, said Pendergraft. He really contributed to the team in the spring season and at the spring region championship, but he struggled with an 87 on the first day, the coach said.

He played a little better on the second day, but the weather held him down to another 87.

Those scores don’t show what an effort Ryan has put forth this year to get better, the coach said.

“Overall, I was pleased with how they played and how they conducted themselves,” the coach said. “I feel we had the capability to defeat these guys.”

Maybe the Knights psyched themselves out because of the success that Sandhills has had in recent years, he guessed.

N.C. Wesleyan, Central Carolina Community College and Johnson Community College also participated in the tournament, but didn’t have at least four players to qualify for the team title.

The spring season will begin on Feb. 27.