A.C. Flora boys golf coach Harry Huntley emailed some current and former players and program supporters Monday night after his team shot a 305 and trailed Wren by three shots after the first round of the S.C. Boys Class 3A State High School Golf Championship.
The theme of the email?
“Once again we were behind after the first day, which seems to be the habit,” Huntley said.
The general theme of the responses? “It’s also the habit that they’ll come back,” Huntley said.
Was there ever a doubt?
The Falcons shot a 2-under-par 286 as a team Tuesday at the General Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina to win their sixth consecutive Class 3A state title by six shots over runner-up Wren, coming from behind in the final round for the fifth consecutive year.
“I was really impressed with the quality of play all day long,” Huntley said. “They were steady, they never got in trouble. To play the way they did today, this is absolutely the best tournament round we’ve played as a team, and I’ve had some great teams.”
Huntley is retiring after 16 seasons and 10 state championships and said none of his teams posted an under-par round in a state tournament.
“Everybody on this team only knows winning a state championship,” Huntley said. “It’s been a great run.”
Team members received rings for the first four titles and a commemorative watch last year. Another watch is likely this year.
“This is the best out of all four, just the best golf we’ve played, the best state championship ever,” said senior Michael Beal, who shot a 2-over 74 Tuesday after being 3 over through two holes.
Huntley’s son, senior Jennings Huntley, shot a 4-under 68 for the best round of his high school career. The round included an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys. Sophomore Ryan Marter shot a 71, and junior Dwight Cauthen contributed a 73.
“We really pulled it together and finished strongly,” Jennings Huntley said. “I’m glad to go out with a bang.”
Robert Dargan, the reigning state mid-amateur champion who coached the A.C. Flora girls team for the first time this season, is succeeding Huntley.
A.C. Flora was the only team that posted a better round in the tournament than Lower State champion Myrtle Beach, which closed with a season-best 1-over 289 Tuesday to move into third place, 12 shots behind the winners.
Gilbert junior Caleb Proveaux won the individual title with a birdie on the first playoff hole over Emerald senior Coleman Self after both players shot a 4-under 140.
In the playoff on the par-3 10th, Proveaux hit an 8-iron from 147 yards into a mild breeze to 1 foot for the clinching birdie, while Self barely missed a 20-foot birdie putt down a ridge. “That was a good way to do it. End it quick,” Proveaux said.
Proveaux began the final round three strokes behind Self and birdied five holes in a bogey-free 67, including the 18th with a 20-foot putt to force the playoff.
“Hats off to him, he had a heck of a back nine – 4 under – and he birdied 18 and the first playoff hole,” said Self, who shot a pair of 70s. “I played good, too, just not good enough.”
The is the fifth year Proveaux has competed in the 3A or 4A state final, and his previous best finish was third as an eighth-grader.
He won the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational last year with rounds of 72 and 65, making up 10 shots in the final round, and has qualified for the U.S. Junior three times, advancing to match play twice.
Proveaux, whose brother Cody is a rising senior on the Clemson golf team, has committed to South Carolina, while Self will be joining the Clemson team in the fall. The swing instructor for the Proveaux brothers is their father, Charles, and Caleb wanted to remain closer to home.
TEAMS: 1. A.C. Flora (+15) 305-286–591; 2. Wren (+21) 302-295–597; 3. Myrtle Beach (+27) 314-289–603; 4. Hilton Head (+36) 306-306–612; 5. Emerald (+38) 314-300–614; 6. Hartsville (+42) 309-309–618; 7. Gilbert (+44) 314-306–620; 8. St. James (+50) 323-303–626; T9. NMB (+58) 323-311–634; T9. Eastside (+58) 321-313–634. 11. South Pointe (+62) 325-313–638; 12. Lancaster (+63) 327-312–639; 13. Beaufort (+65) 330-311–641; 14, West Oak (+69) 317-328–645; 15. Aiken (+76) 332-320–652; 16. Chapman (+91) 337-330–667.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Caleb Proveaux, Gilbert 73-67–140; 2. Coleman Self, Emerald 70-70–140; T3. Jennings Huntley, ACF 77-68–145; Sawyer Mills, Wren 74-71–145; 5. Weston Sanders, Emerald 74-72–146; T6. Dwight Cauthen, ACF 74-73–147; Woods Little, Wren 73-74–147; Travis Mancill, Hilton Head 74-73–147; T9. Ryan Marter, AC Flora 77-71–148; Brady Hinkle, Lancaster 78-70–148; Jacob Bridgeman, Chapman 77-71–148; Zeke Steen, Hartsville 72-76–148.