Beaufort High’s Jerry Bruns claimed medalist honors, and the Eagles and Hilton Head High punched their tickets to the Class 4A boys golf state championship with top-four finishes at the Lower State qualifier Monday at the historic Country Club of South Carolina in Florence. May River’s Andrew Swanson and Bluffton’s Jones Saylor also earned two of the three individual invitations to the state meet that were up for grabs.
The Thoroughbreds of South Aiken brought home the Lower State title with an impressive 303 team score, outdueling rival North Augusta (304) by one shot. Beaufort came in a comfortable third place with a 312 team total, and Hilton Head was fourth with a 317.
The top eight teams from the Lower State and Upper State tournament qualify for the state championship, which will be played Monday and Tuesday at Dolphin Head Golf Club on Hilton Head Island.
Bruns fired a 3-under 69 to win the individual title by two shots over North Augusta’s Matthew Baxley, while Swanson and Hilton Head’s Garrett Fader tied for fifth with 75s, and Saylor was one shot behind them in a tie for ninth.
The 2021 season came to an end for the May River High School Sharks, as they finished just out of the top eight, but Swanson fired a 75 to claim one of the three individual state qualifying spots for next week’s season finale and extend his outstanding high school career. Likewise, Saylor continued his strong sophomore campaign with a 4-over 76 and will represent the Bobcats at the state championship.
The state meet will take place next Monday and Tuesday at Dolphin Head, where the Seahawks will be the host school. The Gary Player track should be a familiar and welcoming location for the Beaufort County state qualifiers and give the locals a shot of confidence heading into the 36-hole tournament.
Beaufort and Hilton Head dominated Region 7-4A play all season until last week’s region tournament, where James Island stunned the field with a double-digit victory. The Eagles and Seahawks are in good position to contend for the title at a course they are both familiar with playing.
In 2019, the Seahawks were the host school for the 4A state championship at Port Royal Golf Club and upset perennial heavyweights AC Flora to win the title for the first time in more than two decades. Hilton Head’s Derek Bunce also won the 4A individual title in 2019 with an impressive 3-under total.
The Falcons of AC Flora fired a scorching 291 in the Upper State championship as they head into next week’s tournament as one of the heavy favorites. Meanwhile Hilton Head’s Nolan Hawkins and Beaufort’s Jerry Bruns both look to close out amazing 2021 seasons with some hardware.
Lowco Sports will be out at Dolphin Head Golf Club next week for the 36-hole high school golf finale. Follow Brian Rietveld (@therietveld) for updates.
By Brian Rietveld