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FOXFIRE VILLAGE — The comeback never happened for Fike High sophomore Jake Herring in Tuesday’s final round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A state championship boys golf tournament on the Red Fox Course at Foxfire Resort and Golf Club.
Deadlocked for fifth place with a 2-over-par 74 after Monday’s opening round, Herring needed to overcome a five-shot deficit. But early problems and a 40 on the front nine created a swirl of frustration.
The 15-year-old Herring wound up with a 40-39—79. His 74-79—153 left him deadlocked for 11th place after finishing 13th his freshman season.
Clayton senior Brady Hooks, second after the first 18 holes, seized the individual championship by three shots with an even-par 36-hole total of 70-74—144.
Charlotte Catholic’s Jack Heath, the first-round leader, faded to a tie for second at 69-78—147. Heath deadlocked teammate Drew Hackett, who carded a 72-75—147. Walker Isley of South Brunswick finished fourth at 72-76—148.
Heath and Hackett led Charlotte Catholic to the team championship at 293-306—599. The margin of victory was 21 shots.
Clayton wound up second at 306-314—620, with Marvin Ridge third at 316-314—630
Scores were higher the final round because of stiffer winds, cooler temperatures and last-day pressure.
Herring’s plight became desperate with a 4-over front nine that included a birdie at No. 9 and only two pars.
Faint hope vanished with a triple bogey at No. 11 — where Herring took an unplayable after hitting his tee ball and slammed the next shot out-of-bounds. Herring double-bogeyed No. 14 but finished strong with birdies at Nos. 15 and 17.
“It’s just tough to win a championship,” Fike coach Glenn Jones reasoned. “Today just proves how tough it is to win one. Jake was off today, but being off with a 74-79 isn’t bad.”
Herring was attempting to match the feat of former Fike standout Bryson Boyette, who won the 3-A individual state championship after claiming the East Regional in 2017. Boyette, now an acclaimed sophomore at Barton College, shot 143 or 1-under par for two days on the same course Herring tackled Monday and Tuesday.
“Some of the places we went today brought back some good memories,” Jones commented.
En route to the state tournament, Herring captured Big East Conference, Wilson County and East Regional titles. He repeated as Big East Player of the Year.
Until the state tourney, Herring had fired 12 consecutive under-par rounds and had posted only one over-par round (73) throughout the season.
Jones noted a state-tournament highlight this week was the performance of the three East Regional entrants. Clayton emerged the runner-up, while Greenville Rose and South Brunswick tied for fifth with 637 totals.
“We were in a tough regional,” Jones declared.
GC’s Watson ties for 48th at 2-A tourney
SOUTHERN PINES — Greene Central’s Michael Watson wrapped up his appearance in the NCHSAA 2-A championship Tuesday with a 42-48-—90 at Longleaf Golf and Country Club to finish with a 177, tying him with two others for 48th in the 83-golfer field.
Midway’s Logan Patrick held off a late birdie surge from West Stanly’s Chase Clayton emerge as the individual state champion. Patrick fired a 1-over-par 71-74—145 to beat Clayton by two strokes.
Lake Norman Charter breezed to the team title with a 617, 31 strokes better than Midway.