PHS Golf Wraps Up Regional
The Pinecrest boys earned the right to defend their 2008 4A state golf title by winning Monday's Eastern Regional at Gates Four Golf and Country Club.
Junior Sam Packard, the only player who was in the lineup when the Patriots took it all at Pinehurst No. 6 last May, birdied his last two holes to account for the one-stroke margin of victory over second place Clayton. Packard and senior teammate Pete Lineberger each shot one over par rounds of 73 on the windy day to lead the Patriots to their third regional title in a row.
The Pinecrest total of 301, based on the team's four lowest scores, also included a 76 by Phillip Riggsbee. Austin Dunlap and Bryan Stewart both shot rounds of 79, and the sixth Patriot player, Dylan Harris, posted an 81.
The medalist was Brian Denton of Knightsdale with an even-par 72. He defeated Jake Barge of Jack Britt on the second playoff hole to earn the honor.
Clayton (302) and Jack Britt (307) also qualify as teams for the 4A state championships to be held at Pinehurst No. 4 next Monday and Tuesday. They will be joined by three teams from each of the other three regionals along with the top three individuals not a member of a qualifying team from each.
As she expressed after her team wrapped up the Mid-Southeastern Conference championship the week before, Coach Sandy Sackmann has been surprised by a Patriot team that lost all of its stars from a year ago.
"This is not something I expected at all," she said. "They think they can win a state championship and that's what it takes."
Sackmann was still wearing a boot on one foot and had an arm in a sling as a result of injuries suffered in an accident at school about 10 days ago. She watched her team's fortunes shift as the day went on.
"After six holes, I was feeling good about things," she said. "After nine holes, I was starting to panic."
Riggsbee, one of two seniors along with Lineberger, chipped in twice and made a late birdie to help the Patriot cause. Dunlap made a birdie on 18. Then Packard, who finished second to teammate Stewart for conference player of the year honors, made the difference with his birdie-birdie finish.
"I put a lot of pressure on Sam in his freshman and sophomore years," Sackmann said of the three-time all-conference selection. "He has really held it together for us."
Team scores Pinecrest 301, Clayton 302, Jack Britt 307, Holly Springs 311, Cape Fear 322, Richmond Senior 324, Knightsdale 325, Purnell Swett 333, Terry Sanford 345, East Wake 345 and Scotland County 347.
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