Vijay Mishra knew he had chance to win Saturday. However, during his round he didn’t have a clear gauge as to where he and the others in the front of the pack stood.
Tied for second in the first flight heading into the final round of the Palmetto High School Golf Championship, Mishra shot 3-over 75 to claim medalist honors at Sea Trail Plantation’s Byrd Course in Sunset Beach, N.C.
Mishra, however, was caught a bit by surprise when he saw his name atop the leaderboard.
“I knew I put up a good score for today, [but] I didn’t know [I had won] until they posted the scores on the scoreboard,” Mishra said. “I didn’t play with some of the other top leaders in my flight.”
Mishra was three strokes off the lead heading into Saturday’s round and wound up with a two-stroke victory at 9-over 153.
“That was definitely my goal going into today,” he said of winning. “But I just wanted to stay calm, play my game and not worry about what other people were doing.”
The Chiefs finished fifth as a team in the first flight, finishing with a round of 36-over 324, 25 strokes better than their first-round score, to finish at 97-over 673. St. Joseph High School won the flight at 657.
“We’ve always been close, but we haven’t been able to get to where we have two or three players playing good at once,” North Myrtle Beach coach David Small said. “We did that today.”
Daniel Graves tied for 17th (87-79–166), Matthew Leonard tied for 43rd (91-85–176) and Clark McIntyre tied for 50th (93-85–178).
And then there was Mishra, a sophomore transfer from Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach, leading the way. Mishra finished second in the SCISA Class A state championships last season before taking his game to North Myrtle Beach.
“On a stage of this size and with teams from all over the United States, I think this was a pretty big deal for him,” Small said. “I know he was pretty excited about it.”
Mishra had two birdies and five bogeys with a consistent split of 2 over on the front nine and 1 over on the back.
“I played consistent throughout the day. I hit a lot of fairways and greens. Putting was a little rough near the end,” he said. “I made a couple 15-footers on hole 8 and another hole. Overall, the conditions of the greens were good. You could make putts on the greens today.”
In fact, he nearly wound up with an even lower score Saturday.
“He’s been playing well. With the first couple days, the greens at Barefoot were real fast. With [windy conditions], it’s hard to keep your ball under control. He’s been working hard at it. Through about 15 he was even par,” Small said. “Then he just ran into a bogey run at the end. He’s been playing very well. He’s hitting the ball well. I think his putting is really starting to improve and he’s really starting to see the difference. He’s really getting confident now.”
Mishra said he plans to play in some big events over the summer and build upon Saturday’s accomplishment.
“It just felt good knowing that I can play at the top level and it builds my confidence to where I can go into bigger events and know I can play well and put a good score up there,” he said.
Overall, Small said, landing a player like Mishra has been a blessing.
“He’s just jumped right in,” the coach said. “He wants to take the leadership role with two others on the team. He’s going to be a great young player and he’s a great young man.”
Forsyth (N.C.) Country Day School won the championship flight at 26-over (307-295–602) by two strokes over Forestview (N.C.). Forsyth’s Ben Schlottman (75-68–143) and Forestview’s Will Blalock (74-69–143) tied for medalist honors.