On Tuesday, May 10, the Leesville Road men’s golf team defeated Myers Park High School by four strokes to win the NCHSAA 4-A State Championship for the first time in school history.
After last year’s second place finish behind Green Hope, Coach Andy Hunt was confident in his team coming into this season. “Coming that close to winning it all sticks with you,” said Hunt. “It’s always been in the back of our minds and now it serves as motivation.”
When the season finally got under way in early March, Leesville appeared ready to make a run for the title. Tasting victory in each of their March meets left Carter Jenkins, sophomore, optimistic about the rest of the season. Jenkins said, “Our goal coming into the season was to go undefeated and after those first few victories, we started thinking we would make it happen.”
Making good on their intentions, the Pride continued to dominate their opponents as they rolled to an undefeated regular season. However, going into States, Coach Hunt couldn’t help but be nervous about the days to come.
“All year, the expectations have been for us to keep winning, and so far we’ve managed to do that. Now that we’re here, we don’t want to slip up and mess up this opportunity,” said Hunt.
At the end of the first day of competition, Leesville had earned a five-stroke lead over Myers Park and put themselves in a good position going into the final round. “As play Monday finished, Myers Park seemed confident rather than frustrated, which told us they had played their best that day,” said Hunt.
“We knew they weren’t going to do better on Tuesday than they had Monday, which put the pressure on us. As long as we played like we have all year, we weren’t going to go home empty- handed.”
Grayson Murray, junior, described the mood Monday night as “encouraging and exciting.” Murray said, “Nobody was really nervous; the whole team was confident in one another that we’d pull through.”
Come Tuesday, the Pride found themselves in an unfamiliar spot- Myers Park was making a comeback. Coach Hunt said, “Once our guys began finishing, we realized the gap was getting smaller and smaller.”
As the day drew to a close, the Pride found themselves with but a one-stroke lead over Myers Park going into the final hole. The only golfer remaining for Leesville, Murray, was left to preserve that edge as he went head to head against the finest Myers Park had to offer in a hole that would decide the NCHSAA 4-A State Championship.
While watching his last opponent of the year triple-bogey the hole after a poor drive, Murray kept calm and parred the 18. In doing so, he gave Leesville their first undefeated season and state championship in school history.
“Winning as an individual is great, but a team victory is even more special,” said Murray. “It lets you know that the whole team performed well and besides, playing with your friends is much more fun anyways.”