CHAPEL HILL – All four North Carolina High School Athletic Association state men’s golf championships will be played simultaneously at four different sites across the state on Monday and Tuesday.
The 78th annual 4-A championships will be held this year on the Lake Course at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, with the 29th annual 3-A championships on the Grey Fox Course the Foxfire Golf and Country Club in Foxfire Village. The 2-A event, also the 29th annual, is scheduled for the Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines, and the 17th annual 1-A championships will be contested on the Pines Course at the Country Club of Whispering Pines in Whispering Pines.
There are some new venues for NCHSAA championships this spring. Carolina Trace and Whispering Pines are new to the recent championship sites.
The top three teams from each of the regionals along with the top three individuals not on one of the qualifying teams earn spots in the 36-hole classified championships.
Prior to 1986, all NCHSAA golf teams competed for a single title in an open tournament. Play went to three classifications in 1986 and then to four classes beginning with the 1998 tournaments.
The 4-A championships at Carolina Trace are set for par 72 and 6,698 yards. The 3-A event at Foxfire will be par 72 on a 6,669-yard layout. Longleaf's set-up is par 71 and 6,591 yards for the 2-A tournament, and the 1-A championships at Whispering Pines will be held on a course measuring at 6,609 yards and par 72.
Southern Pines Pinecrest won the 4-A team title last year and momentarily stopped Wake County’s strong showing in 4-A golf. In fact, a school from Wake County has won 18 of the 28 separate 4-A championships and four of the last five, and a Wake County individual golfer has captured the individual title 10 of the last 15 years.
Ben Griffin of East Chapel Hill had won two of the last three individual titles in 4-A but did not qualify out of a tough regional. Stephen Saleeby of Raleigh Broughton, the 2013 champ, is in the field at Carolina Trace.
Gastonia Forestview is the two-time defending team champion at the 3-A level.
In the 2-A classification, Newton-Conover took the team crown last year after Salisbury had won it all in 2012 and ‘11 and North Lincoln won a pair of championships the two years before that. Alex Hefner, who led the Red Devils to the team title last year with a 36-hole score of 142, is back to defend his individual championship.
Kernersville Bishop McGuinness has won the last three 1-A team titles, taking the crown by 36 shots last year. East Surry had a string of four straight 1-A team championships from 2005 through '08.
The first threesomes will go off at eight o’clock in the morning on each of the two days of the tournament in all four classifications.
Event: NCHSAA Men’s Golf Championships
Date: May 12-13, 2014
Site: four different sites
First Held: 1937
Qualifiers: top three teams from each regional, top three individuals not on one of the qualifying teams, in each classification
Defending team champions: 4-A: Southern Pines Pinecrest; 3-A: Gastonia Forestview; 2-A: Newton-Conover; 1-A: Kernersville Bishop McGuinness
Of Interest: The best individual round ever shot in an NCHSAA state championship was in the 2011 3-A championship at Foxfire, as J.T. Poston of Hickory fired a 63.