SCC Golf Heads to Nationals
Chris Horne is headed back to New York to compete in the NJCAA Division III Golf National Tournament. And this time he’s bringing reinforcements.
The Wadesboro native and two-time Region X golf medalist will play with his Sandhills Community College Flyers teammates in the national championship tournament June 7-11 at Chautauqua Country Club in Chautauqua, N.Y.
“Hopefully we’ll pull off a victory there,” said Gus Ulrich, SCC men’s golf coach. “I think if we can finish top five, that would be a great turnout.”
Flyers competing in New York include Horne, Andrew Weiss, Matt Nunez, Phillip Riggsbee and Tyler Coates.
The team, in only its second year of competition, advanced to the national tournament by winning the Region X tournament in April.
This is Horne’s second trip to nationals. He finished tied for fifth a season ago after qualifying by winning Region X medalist honors.
He is eager for another opportunity at the course he describes as “old-school Donald Ross — short, tight and tree-lined.”
“At nationals, I definitely think I have a chance to win,” Horne said. “And as a team, I think we have a chance to do very well if we play to our potential.”
His teammates agree and are eager to take their swings at a national title.
Coates, a native of New York, has driven over Lake Chautauqua several times in his life, but he has never played the course. He is hopeful his family can make the six-hour trip from their home to be there.
When asked what the key for the team’s success would be, Coates didn’t hesitate.
“Consistency,” he said. “And making those three-foot putts.”
For Weiss, who grew up in Portland, Ore., playing tournament golf is the ultimate capper to his collegiate golf career.
“Growing up in Portland, the golf season is four months long, and a lot of the time the golf teams I played on had one or two other golfers, so as much progress as I was making with my game, there was still that missing piece of tournament golf.
“I was always thirsting for that tournament golf experience, and this is just going to top it off.”
To win, the Flyers will likely have to contend with defending champ Monroe (N.Y.) College.
Last year, Monroe won the team title by 30 strokes with a four-day total of 1,173. Rochester Community and Technical College from Rochester, Minn., and Burlington County College from Pemberton, N.J., finished tied for second. The title was Monroe’s second in four years.
Monroe’s Chris Malec won medalist honors with a 7-under-par 281. He was five strokes better than a trio of golfers in second place.
Horne fired a final round 2-under-par 70 at the Lakes Course of The Chautauqua Country Club in New York for a 3-over-par four-day total of 291.
The key to being in contention, according to Horne, is two-fold. First, you have to understand that it is a long tournament and you can overcome one bad round. Second, playing the course successfully is all about accuracy.
“Distance isn’t really a factor, it’s really about hitting your misses straight and staying between the tree lines,” he said. “If you can do that you can score well.”
Riggsbee, a Pinecrest High School graduate, and Nunez, a basketball player turned golfer from Potomac, Md., both say the team’s chemistry is what sets it apart.
“We have a great group of guys,” Nunez said. “We don’t put much pressure (on ourselves), we just try to go out and have a good time.”
At the Region X tournament, the Flyers recorded a 307-312—619 total at Stryker Golf Club in Fayetteville to defeat runner-up and defending regional champion Louisburg College by six strokes.
Horne earned medalist honors with a 71-73—144. Weiss (79-78—157) and Nunez (78-79—157) finished tied for fourth. Riggsbee (79-82—161) and Coates (92-82—174) rounded out the SCC scoring.
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com
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