Viking Golfers Eye State
On the eve of the 3A Mid-East Regional Golf Championship, Viking head coach Stuart Taylor is optimistic about his squad's prospects of qualifying for the state finals.
"I have a real feeling that this team is ready to just breakout," Taylor said.
The 2009 Union Pines Golf team capped off its regular season campaign with a second place finish in the Cape Fear Valley (CFV) conference standings. That finish qualified the Vikings for Monday's regional which will be played at Meadow Greens Country Club in Eden.
"Last year at regional we did not qualify for states," Taylor said, "but last season our team was not nearly as deep. We had strong players in our top two spots, but after that we were very developmental."
Taylor said his team has improved their skills throughout the season and he is hopeful that the experience the players gained will make a difference this year.
One major reason for Taylor's confidence is Vike senior golfer Robert Hoadley, four-time all-conference selection and the 2007 3A state champion.
Over the course of this year's CFV competition Hoadley, who will be taking his talent to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a full-scholarship player, has an 18-hole stroke average of 72.8.
After winning back-to back CFV individual championship his sophomore and junior years, Hoadley came just short of taking the crown for a third consecutive time, as he was the 2009 runner-up. His final aggregate score of 402 was just three strokes shy of Triton's Will Peregoy.
Union Pines' sophomore Connor Reilly also earned all-conference honors this season. Taylor says that he and junior Daniel Tucker, along with Hoadley are what he would describe as his three exempt players. However after that Taylor, who will be using today's practice round at Meadow Greens as a "final qualifier", admits that spots 4-6 on the Vike team have yet to be determined.
"Ethan Harris, Trevor Owens, Brandon Mawyer and Jake Sauer are all so close," said Taylor, "that I won't know which one of them will be sitting out (as my assistant during the regional) until they finish their rounds today."
In regional and state prep golf, a team is allowed to place up to six players in competition, and then uses its lowest four scores to arrive at a one- or two-day final tally.
Sixteen schools will compete in Monday's regional with the top three teams and top six individuals including ties (not on a qualifying squad) will earn berths into the 3A State Championship.
"I am confident Robert will give us a great number," said Taylor, "but having said that any of our 2 through 6 players could blossom out in the event, they all have that potential as well as the desire. What I really want is four good scores. If we can come in somewhere around 300-305 we will make states and I am positive we can do it."
Contact F.W. Manning II at 639-5481 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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