CLAYTON — When Corinth Holders surged to a runner-up finish in the 2012 Northern Carolina 2A Conference Championships, it more than justified the hard work the members of the squad had put into improving itself from the inception of its boys golf program.
It gave the Pirates the impetus to strive for even more improvement this season, including a run at the conference championship.
Tuesday afternoon, the Pirates continued to establish themselves as the team to beat, rolling to a 22-shot victory in the second regular-season NCC match of the year at Riverwood.
Behind the medalist effort of Monty Fields, the Pirates collectively carded a score of 324 over the 6,803-yard Riverview and Meadowlands nines on the 27-hole layout. That score bettered that of team runner-up Bunn, which posted a four-man aggregate of 346; North Johnston placed fifth with a 417 total.
In addition to Fields' round, the Pirates counted the scores of Nick Routhier (82), Sam Baxter (81) and Will Stanley (85).
Competing for the Pirates, but not included in the four-man total were Grayson Adams, who carded 86 and Kellen Labonte, who shot an 89.
North Johnston fielded only four golfers, led by Hunter Pike (87), Andy Green (106), Jordon Capps (107) and Evan Groendyke (117).
“This was the best round that Monty has ever had for us,” said Pirates coach Theresa Gale. “His putting really came through for him today. Usually, Nick is our low scorer, carding anywhere from even par to three over. He just had an off day.”
Gale said she has been blessed with an abundance of talent - talent that challenges themselves - and each other to be better: "They challenge themselves on the course. They challenge their drives, the short games and their putting."
But most of all, they challenge each other, to be better players, and for the right to play in the next match, whether it be an 18-hole conference meet, or a nine-hole county affair.
"The top four finishers," Gale said, automatically qualify for the next event,” Gale said. “(This week) we will have a nine-hole challenge match to determine the additional two players that will earn spots for that match. … It will be a tough competition.”
Gale said she has at least seven that could be interchangeable for those top six positions, if not the top four. Gale said the improvement of every player has been noticeable.
“When we first got this team started three years ago,” Gale said. “Our scores were in the 100s. Then last year, most of their scores dropped into the 80s - and they want to continually improve each time out.”