Patten Williams had a feeling he was due a couple of good rounds heading into the biggest tournament of the high school boys’ golf season.
He just didn’t know how good things would turn out.
Williams won the individual title at the N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 1A state championships, held May 9-10 at the Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Pinehurst.
The Community School of Davidson junior shot an even-par 142 over the two-day tournament, and finished six shots ahead of Starmount’s Chris Fillingame and Swain County’s Grant Shuler.
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Behind Williams and two teammates finishing among the top 10 individuals, the Spartans went on to finish second in the team standings at 45-under 613, just three strokes behind 1A state champion Mount Airy’s 42-over 610.
“At the start of the week, I knew I was playing really well and striking the ball really good,” Williams said. “I hit the ball well during the practice round, and I knew if went out and I executed what I was trying to do, the score would be there at the end of the day.
“I was very confident going into both days. I knew I was playing well, but I didn’t know I was playing that well.”
Williams, 16, took the individual lead with an opening-round 2-under 69 – the only player among the 83 entrants to shoot under 70 – to take a one-shot lead over Fillingame.
“I had a good game plan,” Williams said. “The front nine (holes at Longleaf) is really tight, so I was focused on just keeping the ball in play and just hanging around par. Then on the back nine, that’s where I tried to do my damage, because it’s a little more wide open and the par 5s are more scoreable.”
While Williams’ score slipped on the second day (a 2-over 73), so did all of the other competitors. Only one player had a better second round than Williams – Shuler, who shot a 1-over 72 – and two others (Mount Airy’s Christopher Dorsett and Nabyant Wagner) had equal scores.
“After the first day, I felt really good going into the second (day),” Williams said. “But I was really excited that day, because I knew our team had a chance, and I started off a little rough. I was 3- or 4-over (par) over the first seven holes, but I was 1-under over the last 11 holes.
“I just had to settle down – I knew I was getting a little quick in my swing. I stopped doing that, played well the rest of the round, calmed down a little bit and stuck to what I was trying to do on the back nine.”
Williams’ win at the 1A state tournament ended Bishop McGuinness’ run of five consecutive individual state titles. Becoming a repeat winner – the last was Bishop McGuinness’ Tanner Owen in 2013-2014 – is already on his mind, and more.
“I definitely think I have a chance to win next year,” Williams said. “I would really like for our team to (win), we ought to be very good next year. But I’m focused on playing well this summer. When (the high school season) comes up, then I’ll definitely try to repeat.”
▪ At the 1A championships, two other Lake Norman-area teams finished in the top four, with Denver’s Lincoln Charter coming in third at 52-over 620 and Mooresville’s Pine Lake Prep fourth at 70-over 638.
Among individuals, in addition to Williams, five other area players finished among the top 10 individuals: CSD’s Brendan Coale (fifth, 8-over 150) and Carter Cook (tied for 10th, 11-over 153), Lincoln Charter’s Harrison Hall and Evan Crook (tied for 10th), and Pine Lake Prep’s Adam Parrish (tied for sixth, 9-over 151).
Other scorers for Community School of Davidson were Max Sapp and Brandon Whitley (both tied for 43rd, 29-over 171).
Other scorers for Lincoln Charter were Justin Morgan (tied for 16th, 15-over 157), Dylan Land (22nd, 17-over 159), and William Crook (tied for 29th, 20-over 162).
Other scorers for Pine Lake Prep were Trevor Beckham (tied for 14th, 13-over 155), Jacob Howes and Parker Mizelle (both tied for 37th, 25-over 167), and Brantly Howerton (tied for 47th, 31-over 173).
▪ Led by leading scorer Blake Wagoner, Hough finished fifth in team scoring at the 4A state championships on Pinehurst Country Club’s No. 8 course.
Wagoner shot an even-par 144 over the two-day tournament to tie for fourth among individual golfers, four shots behind state champ Doc Redman of Raleigh’s Leesville Road.
As a team, the Huskies finished at 31-over 607, just one shot behind fourth-place Green Hope and two back of third-place Raleigh Broughton. Pinecrest won the 4A team title at 14-over 590, beating Myers Park by one stroke.
Also scoring for Hough were Geehoon Yu (tied for 17th, 7-over 151), Ronnie Usenski (tied for 38th, 12-over 156), Thomas Deal (tied for 48th, 14-over 158), and Ben Woodruff and second-day sub Jared Shingledecker, who combined for a 15-over 159 (tied for 51st).
▪ Lake Norman’s Cody Anderson, playing as an individual entry, shot a 28-over 172, tying for 72nd overall.
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: BKiserCLTObs@gmail.com.