With a final score of 602, A.C. Flora beat out Hilton Head and Blythewood to earn its second consecutive Class 3A golf title. Led by sophomore medalist Thomas Bradshaw, the Falcons took a 14-stroke lead in the opening round on the way to clenching A.C. Flora’s fourth title in six seasons. Coach Harry Huntley talked to The State about the win.
You must have felt good coming into the season as defending champions.
Starting the season out, we knew we had a lot of talent returning. We had two Division 1 seniors out with Brewer Bradshaw, who’s headed to Clemson and J.B. Murphy going to Furman. But just like anytime you still have to tee-up and play.
What obstacles did you foresee to repeating state titles?
We had to replace Sims Tompkins from the prior year. We had Will Murphy, who is a freshman and he played fantastic for us going through the season, so that helped a lot.
How did you feel about your team’s capabilities going through the season?
We had some good spurts during the season.
We went to the Haradaway Tournament in Columbus, Ga., and there were 46 teams from four states there. We won that, which was excellent, but you know, you can do really well in a tournament and the next you turn around and get your head handed to you.
How important was it having the younger Bradshaw and Murphy brothers shine in the final tournament?
It’s terrific to know going forward that the young guys are really ready to step it up to take it over... On the first day, Thomas Bradshaw and Will Murphy were leading the tournament. Their efforts combined to give us that 14-stroke lead and we knew that was something that was going to be hard for teams to overcome.
How surprised were you to see Thomas Bradshaw leading the group?
I think Thomas had been waiting all year to win a tournament. I think he felt like he should have been winning and it was really great for him to finally win it in the state meet, especially as a sophomore.
He helped ensure a nice farewell for his brother, Brewer. What was it like, the last tournament with your two seniors?
I think it was an emotional journey for them. There were a lot of emotions going through them. Brewer has played in every state tournament since he joined the team in the eighth grade. JB played in every one since the ninth grade. So I know they were thinking about a lot of memories.... I’ll certainly miss them. They were two special kids who really helped me out and that’s going to be missed.
How do you feel about the group you return next year?
It’s great to have Thomas and Will coming back. I won’t have any seniors next year, but I’ve got Alan King, and a couple of ninth graders and another sophomore that are champing at the bit. If they can keep focused, I think we’ll be all right.
Are there any other golf families coming to bolster the Falcons?
No, I don’t have any right now. I think what we had was really unique. It had a lot to do with how close we were as a team. I’ve always tried to make sure that the players on the team got along as a family, and with them really being family made it special.
How will the Falcons keep up this level of success?
The secret to our success is that they all have great work ethics. They know what it takes to win. ... You have to have high expectations and I think that in these seasons, the guys have learned that if you have high expectations and you do the work, you will get the reward.