Patriots Go Low in Boys' Golf
“Those are pretty numbers right there,” Pinecrest golfer Josh Martin said, looking up at the scoreboard at the Pinehurst Resort after Monday’s final conference match of the season.
Grouped one after the other were five red numbers, including a 7-under-par 65 by the Patriot freshman. A 67 by Nick Thompson combined with a pair of 69s by Zach Martin and Josh Stockwell added up to an 18-under team score of 270 that is believed to be a school record.
On an afternoon that scores were not otherwise remarkably low, Sam Kosich posted a 1-under 71 for the Patriots’ other sub-par round in the Southeastern Conference match, a match that ended with Pinecrest claiming the league championship.
“There was a little wind out there, but we were playing the white tees (6,200 yards) so that made it a little easier,” Zach Martin said. “We didn’t need to use the driver so we could put it in play. Off the tee is where you can get in the most trouble on No. 5.
“We’re looking forward to regionals next week. This is a confidence boost for the team. Hopefully it will motivate us to work hard the rest of the week and keep the momentum going into Monday.”
The team will be traveling to Clayton on Sunday for a practice round at River Ridge Golf Club. The Patriots will seek their sixth regional title in a row there on Monday. The top three teams from each regional advance to the NCHSAA state 4-A championships at No. 8 the following Monday and Tuesday.
Zach Martin used his driver only twice in the round, reducing the chances of hitting balls out of bounds. His brother Josh accounted for seven of the 26 birdies by the five players. Thompson had six birdies and an eagle.
The Southeastern Conference title was the Patriots’ 13th in a row and first under coach John Azzarelli, who succeeded Sandy Sackmann this year.
Six Patriots earned all-conference recognition, led by player of the year Josh Martin with a stroke average of 69.4. The others were Zach Martin, 70.6, Thompson, 71.4, Kosich, 72.6, Stockwell, 73.8, and Alex Meade 75.0.
Azzarelli has selected the first five to be in the lineup at River Ridge. The sixth member will be selected from team qualifying in practice this week.
“It’s good to see that much red under the Pinecrest name,” the Patriot coach said. “It’s an amazing score. Hopefully that’s a good sign for the regionals.”
Reached at home after Monday’s match, the lowest team score Sackmann could recall from over 10 years as the Patriot coach was a 276 at Bayonet at Puppy Creek.
Purnell Swett and Lumberton, the second and third place teams in the final league standings, also qualified for the regional as did the lowest four individuals not members of a qualifying team.
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