Pat Golf Team Finishes Fifth at State Meet
As Sam Packard, the last Pinecrest golfer, prepared to finish the 18th hole at Pinehurst No. 4 Tuesday afternoon, an upbeat group of teammates and Patriot fans looked on.
Even though the players from the three leading teams after Monday's first round were still out the course, the Patriot camp knew there would be no repeat of last year's 4A state high school championship.
As Packard approached his ball after chipping to within about eight feet of the cup, one of his teammates kidded, "If you sink this putt, Sam, we win."
The Patriot junior drained the putt to the delight of his proud cheering section, finishing with a 71, one of only three under par scores on the day, and only the fourth over the two days.
Pinecrest coach Sandy Sackmann and her players had reason to feel good about a season that included a conference and regional championship. With Packard as the only returnee from the six that won the 2008 state title, the Patriots finished fifth this time.
Led by medalist Michael Cromie with rounds of 73-66-139, Green Hope won its third state title in the last four years. Based upon the four best scores for each team, the top five teams after Green Hope, 305-296-601 were, Providence, 304-305-609, Myers Park, 317-297-614, Northern Durham, 306-311-617 and Pinecrest, 310-308-618.
The sixth through 12th finishers were Apex, Alexander Central, Clayton, North Mecklenburg, R.J. Reynolds, Grimsley and Jack Britt.
"There are only 12 teams from the whole state here and we're part of it," Sackmann said afterward. "We won regionals again and just to be here is good. They have to be proud of what they've done and that's what I'm going to tell them."
The other Patriot scores after the prototype, "It's a beautiful day in Pinehurst," second day were -- Pete Lineberger, 75-78-153, Dylan Harris 77-80-157, Bryan Stewart, 80-79-159, Austin Dunlap, 79-85-164 and Phillip Riggsbee, 83-82-165.
Packard shot a disappointing 79 during the pouring rains that accompanied Monday's first round. Sackmann looked for the veteran of three state championships to post a low number, and he did -- finishing in ninth place individually for the 36 holes. After an early double bogey, Packard went to one-under par with a chip-in for a birdie on the par 3 14th. He had to scramble for par out of the woods on the par 5 17th before saving par again on 18.
With Jack Fields, Patrick Barrett and Russell Burke posting low scores almost every time out the previous two years, Packard's role was different this time around. "I've been pretty relaxed," he said. "The pressure was a little bit more this year because we lost out best three players, but nothing really changed very much."
Teammate Stewart edged him out for Mid-Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors by less than a stroke per round. Lineberger and Riggsbee are the only seniors from the six that played at No. 4.
"Mrs. Sackmann has often said we have a fairly young team," Packard said. "We didn't have the highest expectations, but to come this far is great."
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