Beaufort High’s Jerry Bruns fired a scorching 3-under-par 69 on Monday at Dolphin Head Golf Club on Hilton Head Island to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the SCHSL Class 4A Boys Golf State Championship.
Bruns has had an incredible sophomore season, racking up major victories including the Carolina Golf Association’s HV3 Invitational and the Fort Dorchester Patriot Invitational and is now one round away from adding state champion to his resume. His first-round 69 was one of four rounds under par in conditions that were ripe for scoring with minimal wind and temperatures in the high 70s at the short, but tight Gary Player designed course. Bruns leads by one shot over Lancaster’s Trey Crenshaw (70) and two shots over AC Flora’s Guy Buffum (71) and Greenville’s Hugh Faulkner (71).
The Eagles are still in the hunt for a team title, too, as they sit in third place with a total of 307 after round one 13 shots back of perennial powerhouse AC Flora, which fired an eye-popping 6-over par 294. The Falcons were paced by Buffum’s 1-under 71 and junior Luke Sullivan’s 1-over par 73.
Beaufort’s Simon McAlister shot a 5-over 77 and Jack Lubkin carded a 7-over 79 to help the Eagles to their solid standing after the opening round and in prime position to make a move on Tuesday.
Coach Rawn Grant’s Hilton Head High team is once again the host of the South Carolina State Championship and also once again in the top 10 in the team event, sitting in eighth with a total of 333. The defending champion Seahawks were led by Ben Batson’s 7-over 79 and will need to get some birdies tomorrow to sneak into the top five.
Bluffton sophomore Jones Saylor qualified as an individual and put together one of his best rounds of the year with a 3-over 75. After a bogey on his first hole — the 10th — Saylor got it going with four birdies on the next 11 holes to get it to 2-under through 14. The Bobcat golfer stumbled briefly coming down the stretch with two double bogeys, one of those being on the difficult 204-yard par-3 7th hole, but held on for one of the Bobcats’ best rounds in recent memory.
Saylor, who wore a Bluffton green polo with a pair of black shorts in honor of DJ Fields, who was tragically killed in a shooting earlier this year, went out posting his lowest score in competition and put himself in the top 10, just six shots off the lead.
“My putting was on today,” Saylor said. “I left myself easy, stress-free par putts and made the makeable birdie putts.”
He plans to take the same approach into the final round.
“I hope to do what I did today,” Saylor said. “Go out and take advantage of the birdie opportunities and make a lot of pars.”
Saylor will be paired up with May River senior Andrew Swanson for the final round on Tuesday. Swanson’s 8-over 80 was not the dream start for the Clemson University commit but he will have the chance to end his stellar high school career with a strong final round.
The final round weather looks to be the same with highs in the upper-70s and minimal wind. Look for scores to come down dramatically from those teams in the middle of the pack after getting one round under their belts and getting the nerves out of the way.
Beaufort will need to put some pressure on AC Flora early to end the season with a state title, and Bruns has a strong chance to add an individual state title to his impressive list of accomplishments and join the likes of Lucas Glover, DJ Trahan, and Bill Haas.
With the leaders teeing off just before 10 a.m., it should all be settled by the time the last school bell rings.
By Brian Rietveld