While the regular season schedule was loaded with matches and tournaments, the Predators Varsity Golf Team had this date circled for a long time. The Preds had one goal throughout the year: to win the Region Tournament. Today, they accomplished just that. With their win, the Predators have qualified for the A-AA State Championships at Mount Vintage on May 13th and 14th.
After the front-9, the Predators found themselves a handful of shots behind region foe, Ninety-Six. It was on the back-9, that the Predators would mount a charge and take the lead for good. This charge resulted in a region championship and four Preds players earning All-Region Team Honors.
Colin Trahan would go shot for shot with Ninety-Six’s Will Hepler for 13 holes. Both players were tied for the tournament lead with just five holes left. Trahan would go on to birdie the 14th hole after almost driving the green of the par-4. His wedge shot would leave him a tap-in birdie putt that would end up being good enough for a -3 (69). The win made the Charleston-Southern commit an unprecedented, three-time Region Player of the Year. During this run, Trahan has finish all three region tournaments a combined 12-under par.
Evan Prickett showed the resilience of a seasoned veteran, despite being a freshman. After enduring a front-9 +6 (42), including an unlucky 2-stroke penalty due to a rule interpretation misunderstanding, Prickett would dig in. His back-9 would open with a birdie and included seven straight pars. The most clutch came on the 17th and 18th holes of the day. With both Ninety-Six and the Preds neck and neck for the lead, Prickett would sink a 30ft putt for par on 17 and then roll a chip to within 5ft on the 18th before saving par with the putt. His +6 (78) was good enough for third place overall.
Bryce Bessey showed some resilience as well throughout the day despite some bad breaks. Bessey would open up with a +4 (40). On the back-9, twice Bessey would find his ball up against a tree root, that resulted in a couple of bogies. Battling through, Bessey would make par from the top of a tiered green on the par-3, 15th. Bessey would also par the par-5, 18th. Bessey’s 83 earned him All Region honors as well. This was the first time in his high school career that he has earned such honors.
Perhaps the unsung hero of the day for the Preds came from freshman Darian Dorn. Dorn saved his best golf of the season for when it mattered the most. After struggling with a front-9 +7 (43), Dorn would storm his way back to put the exclamation point on the Preds Region Championship. Dorn saw holes 10-11-12 played at 3-over par when the tables began to turn in his direction. After a bogey on 12, he would play the final 6 holes at 1-under par for a back-9 +2 (38). Dorn’s chip-in birdie on the 16th would prove to be big as he would follow it up with clutch pars using his short-game on the 17th and 18th holes. His 81 was a personal best for high early high school career and good enough for All Region Honors.
While Braedon Murphy and Grant Riley had struggles to work through today, they proved all season long that this young Preds team will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. Murphy, in only his second year of competitive golf, saw significant playing time in all matches and two 18-hole tournaments. Grant Riley also competed in all the matches and saw action in five 18-hole tournaments. Both Murphy and Riley are part of a group of four freshman that will be recognized as letterman at the season’s end.