CONWAY — Sophomore Thomas Bradshaw and freshman Will Murphy figured their older brothers had buttressed the A.C. Flora High program long enough.
They took it upon them selves to make sure the two seniors — Clemson signee Brewer Bradshaw and Furman signee J.B. Murphy — went out as champions on Tuesday at Quail Creek Golf Club at Coastal Carolina.
The younger Bradshaw fired rounds of 70 and 73 for a 1-under-par 143 that won the individual Class 3A State Tournament title by a shot, and Will Murphy contributed a 73 in Monday's opening round that helped the Falcons win their second consecutive team state title by eight shots over Hilton Head with a 24-over 602.
“We wanted to do it one more time for the seniors so they could have a couple state championships [in a row],” said Thomas Bradshaw, who played in his third state championship. “It felt good to help them do that.”
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Brewer Bradshaw, who has played on three state title teams, shot uncharacteristically high rounds of 79 and 78.
J.B. Murphy shot a 77-75—152 that included a 35 on the back nine Tuesday, and sophomore Alan King shot a 79-77—156 for the Falcons.
“It's coming to an end, but I can't think of a better way to close it out than to win a state championship with our little brothers,” J.B. Murphy said. A.C. Flora has won four of the past six Class 3A state titles, with all four coming on Grand Strand courses. They've won the past two at Quail Creek, won at Myrtlewood in 2003 and Bay Tree Plantation in 2004.
“We would like to keep coming to Myrtle Beach” said Falcons coach Harry Huntley, who regrets he's losing two members of the Falcon family to college golf.
“I think it's a pretty unique thing about our golf team that we have two sets of brothers that have been really my top four players,” Huntley said.
“It's really been like a family and it's been that way for a few years.”
Thomas Bradshaw recorded a few top-10s, but had not won a tournament this year prior to Tuesday. He birdied the 500-yard par-5 16th hole, holed a 6-foot par putt on the par-4 17th and two-putted from 20 feet for par on the par-4 18th to close out a one-shot victory against Strom Thurmond's Garland Smith.
“I haven't played the way I could play this year,” Thomas Bradshaw said. “This is my first really good tournament.”
It was apparent the Falcons were going to be nearly impossible to catch after they opened a 14-stroke lead with an opening-round 299, and even an impressive 8-over 296 by Hilton Head Tuesday couldn't make things close.