Phillips, Cannon lead heading into final round at Cedar Creek
A challenging day for many Saturday at the Carolina High School Invitational ended exactly like so many other tournament rounds before it – with Cannon School and Trent Phillips looking down at the competition.
Cannon, the defending tournament champion and multi-time Southern Cross winner, turned in a Saturday-best 294 total to take the top spot from Boiling Springs. The Cougars lead by 17 strokes heading into Sunday’s final round.
Phillips and his Boiling Springs teammates faltered a bit Saturday at Cedar Creek Golf Club, posting a 314 total that was 28 strokes higher than their first-round score at The Aiken Golf Club. Still, Phillips retained the individual lead at 1 under after a 74. He leads Wren’s Brandon Masters by one.
Nine players are within five shots of Phillips, including Fox Creek junior Colin Trahan. Trahan got off to a slow start Saturday, playing his first three holes in 4 over, and he’s three back at 2 over for the tournament.
The rocky opening wasn’t a Trahan problem; it was a Fox Creek problem, and head coach Mark Thomas wants to see his players get off to a fast start Sunday. Fox Creek is in ninth place out of 24 teams with a 69-over 637 total, 54 strokes behind Cannon.
“Frustrating from start to finish. That’s all I can describe it as is frustrating for them,” Thomas said. “Not a whole lot of highs today for the guys, and that’s golf; it will humble you in a thousand different ways. It was just one of those days where both the mental grind and the physical grind kind of wore down on them.”
Chad Carter had one of the better rounds of the day with a 2-over 74. He’s in 13th at 7 over. The Predators also used an 87 from Nic Barnett and an 88 from Bryce Bessey.
South Aiken is in 22nd at 135 over. Drew Greene led the T-Breds with a 77, and he’s tied for 14th individually at 8 over. South Aiken also counted scores from Cameron Biddle (88), Connor Buchanan (92) and Colson McNulty (97).
“I thought they played a little bit better today than we did yesterday,” said South Aiken coach Drew Jernigan. South Aiken was three shots better to par than Friday. “That’s not exactly a high standard, but it’s improvement. It’s a sunny-side up kind of situation.”
Aiken fell to 23rd, 10 shots behind South Aiken, after enduring a difficult day. Rafferty Hall, who led Aiken on Friday with a 78, had to withdraw, so the Hornets had to compete without their No. 2 player. Whit Larlee’s 86 led the day for Aiken, and he was followed by Charlton Hill (87), Nolan Skiff (91) and Brown Crenshaw (118).
“It was a hard day. It was especially hard for us not having one of our players here,” said Hornets coach Vic Lancaster. “That hurt us. Right now, we’re struggling, and we need to get better for region. ... We’ll be back out here tomorrow. Look forward to it, and hopefully we’ll play a little better.”
Wren golfers Brandon Masters and Tanner Pilgrim had the rounds of the day. Like Friday, only two players in the 120-man field broke par – Masters shot 70, and Pilgrim had a 71.
The final round will be played Sunday at Cedar Creek, with players teeing off holes No. 1 and 10 starting at 8 a.m. Aiken and South Aiken will be playing together, along with Chapin and Pendleton, in the 8-8:36 a.m. groups starting on No. 10. Fox Creek is joined by Gaffney, St. Joseph’s and Wren in the 8:45-9:21 a.m. groups starting on No. 1.