BE golf team brings home state trophy after championship win over May River
Remember the old Avis car rental advertisements that included “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder -- or else”?
That could have been the Bishop England High School boys’ golf team’s mantra this season after a second-place finish at last year’s Class AAA state match.
The Bishops worked hard in all phases of the game, driving, chipping and putting while improving their mental approach after losing the crown to Waccamaw by 37 strokes last May. All that work and effort paid off on May 15 when the Bishops claimed the top spot in Class AAA with a 12-stroke victory over May River.
“We came off three straight championships (2013-15), but the past two years Waccamaw caught up,” BE coach John Greavu said, “This year, we had a couple of new talented guys and a few returners who saw us win the state championships but had not been part of them. We were driven to get back to the top.”
The Bishops traveled to Seneca for the two-day event at Cross Creek Plantation, a challenging 6,911-yard par 72 course designed by Pat Dye that offers meandering creeks and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, not to mention tight fairways and fast and firm greens.
“We welcomed the challenge the course offered,” Greavu said. “We knew the winning team would have to go five (players) deep.”
On Monday, the Bishops took the lead after the first day of the 16-team match, carding a 324 to grab a two-stroke lead.
The Bishops sealed the deal on Tuesday with the lowest score of the event: 318 for 640, which was 12 strokes better than May River. Woodruff took home the third place trophy with a 658. Hanahan finished 14th with a 723.
The two-day exhibition of talent gave the Bishops their fourth state title since 2013 and seventh overall. Their first title came in 2005. The Bishops also have four second-place finishes at the state level.
The title moved the Bishops into a four-way tie for sixth place in state history, joining South Aiken, Spartanburg and Greenville – all with seven.
Freshman Austin Scott led the Bishops with a 153 to claim third place in the individual standings and earn all-state honors. But high school golf is not a one-man show, and Scott had plenty of help as four Bishops placed in the top 30.
JJ Keene finished tied for 14th with a 162 and Sam Manning was tied for 18th with a 164. Tommy Verner was tied for 28th place with a 170. Sam Manning and Luke Walmet also scored for the Bishops.
Next year’s team could be special as well as three of the top five golfers return. Verner, a team captain, and Manning will graduate this spring.
Greavu said Scott and Keene will form a potent 1-2 punch next spring, adding, “Scott is super talented. He is a unique freshman and a good learner. He plays smart and calm.”
Jake Snelgrove had Hanahan’s best finish with a 156, which was good for a three-way tie for 10th place.