Dynasties are hard to come by.
But A.C. Flora first-year boys golf coach Robert Dargan stepped into one, replacing legendary coach Harry Huntley, who retired after leading the Falcons to their sixth straight Class 3A state championship and his 10th overall at the school last season.
Dargan admitted his A.C. Flora squad didn’t have the best regular season heading into the playoffs, but the Falcons got it done when it mattered most as they finished 11 shots ahead of runner-up Eastside to take first place Tuesday at the Class 3A state championship at The Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina.
It’s the seventh straight state championship for A.C. Flora, which extended its own state record for consecutive boys golf state titles.
“I always like to brag on these kids because I had nothing to do with their success up until this year. They’re a good group and they were already a great team when I took over,” Dargan said. “It was pretty easy for me. Coach Huntley built the program here, and all I had to do was just kind of point them in the right direction and make sure everything was working right. We struggled a little bit, but we saved our best for last.”
Entering the final round, A.C. Flora held an eight-shot lead over Eastside and Hilton Head, and cruised to the win with junior Ryan Marter, Dwight Cauthen and Ian Stewart and Falcons leading the way.
Marter was named all-state as he finished second individually after shooting an even-par 72 in the final round to finish six strokes behind Chapman’s Jacob Bridgeman.
Stewart earned all-state honors and finished tied for sixth at 149.
“We didn’t have our best year, but coming into this we were motivated. We all played really well and finished it off,” Marter said. “Monday was a lot easier, definitely. I started off with two bogeys Tuesday, but I settled in and made par on about eight straight and was able to finish it off well. I feel good about it, just helping this team any way I can.”
Cauthen, a N.C. State signee who has won four straight state titles – three coming at The Hackler Course, finished tied for sixth individually (149) to earn all-state honors.
“It’s awesome. We have such a good time and it’s nice to win, but it’s also nice to know this is a sport and I have good people playing with me,” Cauthen said. “We have a great team, we have a great camaraderie and everything. It was a little different this year not having coach Huntley, but coach Dargan has been great. I’ve really enjoyed having him as a coach. But there’s just something about this golf course. We seem to play pretty good here.”
Dargan noticed that his team had a battle on its hands with several schools in contention on the final day. But A.C. Flora’s first-day performance gave the program the boost of confidence it needed.
“We knew who the better teams were in Eastside, Hartsville, North Myrtle Beach, Gilbert and Hilton Head. Those were the teams we knew we had to beat, and I know they thought the same thing about us,” Dargan said. “In all honesty, we knew if we could get our nose out front -- and we did with a really solid day yesterday - that we have enough talent to get them thinking they could do it. And they did.
“You never know how these kids are going to play. You hope for the best and plan for the best, but you just don’t know until the end. But they played with poise the whole two days.”
In Class 4A, Lexington finished third with a team score of 942. It was the Wildcats’ third straight top-five finish in the state. Boiling Springs (904) won its second straight title by 11 shots over Gaffney. Dorman’s Jordan Warnock (-9) won the individual title.
Dutch Fork was ninth and Blythewood 10th.
In Class 2A, Waccamaw finished with a 581 and won by 15 shots over Bishop England. Waccamaw Patrick Golden set a 36-hole state record by firing a 13-under 131 to win individual honors. Mid-Carolina finished eighth and Pelion was 12th.
STATE GOLF RESULTS
At CCU’s Hackler Course
Team scores: A.C. Flora 599; Eastside 610; North Myrtle Beach 615; Hilton Head 615; Hartsville 623; Gilbert 624; Wren 632; Lancaster 638; West Oak 638; Myrtle Beach 644; Emerald 645; Beaufort 647; St. James 650; Aiken 654; 15. Blue Ridge 666; South Pointe 690
A.C. Flora individuals: Ryan Marter 143; Dwight Cauthen 149l Ian Stewart 149; John Andrews 158; Ford Reynolds 164.
Gilbert individuals: Caleb Proveaux 146; Zach McLain 162; Jeremiah Kubilus 156; Joseph Hardee 160.
At Furman University Golf Course
Team scores: Boiling Springs 904; Gaffney 915; Lexington 942; North Augusta 946; Dorman 950; Wando 953; Bluffton 957; South Aiken 961; Dutch Fork 962; Blythewood 965; Byrnes 973; J.L. Mann 975; Sumter 997; Easley 998; Carolina Forest 1007; James Island 1011
Lexington individuals: Nicholas Beiers 233; Joshua Larick 233; Connor Patterson 237; Dillon Hite 239;
Dutch Fork individuals: Kyle Olenchuk 230; Jake Montgomery 239; Hunter Coates 241; Palmer Mason 253; Derek Loy 257
Blythewood individuals: Cole Hargett 232; Matthew Moninghoff 233; Taylor Faile 250; Alex Tilley 250; Daniel Larrimore 265
At True Blue Plantation
Team scores: Waccamaw 581; Bishop England 596; Andrew Jackson 621; Pendleton 635; Ninety Six 637; Chesnee 665; Buford 667; Mid-Carolina 683; Barnwell 715; Saluda 715; Johnsonville 725; Pelion 735; Aynor 757; Silver Bluff 793; Andrews 918.
Mid-Carolina individuals: Zack Waites 194; Evan Lovelady 192; Grant Doolittle 177; PJ Jacobs 153; Trini Martinez 165
Pelion individuals: Dylan Williamson 232; Kenny Jackson 200; Tim Jackson 188; Zac Johnson 178; Keaton Osteen 169.
Batesburg-Leesville: Wills Swygert 193
Most consecutive titles
Some of the longest championship winning streaks in SCHSL history:
Bishop England Volleyball (2001-present)
Riverside Cross Country (1987-97)
Christ Church Boys Soccer (2001-11)
Bamberg-Ehrhardt Baseball (1984-91)
Monetta Girls Basketball (1933-40)
Bishop England Girls Soccer (2002-09)
Lamar Boys Track (1999-2006)
A.C. Flora Boys Golf (2010-present)