Tied for second place just two shots back of first-round-leader Wheeling Park, Capital and Huntington came into the final day of the state tournament still very much in it.
But once play began during Wednesday’s final round, the two teams went in drastically different directions.
Jacob Perry fired an 8-over 79, Tanner Dorsey turned in an 81 and Connor Campbell followed with an 85 as the Highlanders rode a hot start past the Patriots and cruised to a six-shot win over Park in Class AAA on the Jones Course at Oglebay Resort. It was Huntington’s first golf title since 1999.
“We played awesome on the front nine and the wheels started to fall off on the back,” Huntington coach Travis Austin said. “But Oglebay is so tough and on the back nine today I saw every team in the final group struggle. The boys knew every shot was going to count. No matter how good or bad things go, you’ve got to play one shot at a time. The scores aren’t pretty, but this course is tough.”
The Highlanders finished with a team total of 492, placing ahead of Park (498), Greenbrier East (503) and Capital (518).
The day was a struggle for the Cougars as a team score of 271 on Wednesday was 24 shots worse than their opening 247 on Tuesday which put the team in prime position. After posting three scores at 84 or better on day one, Capital came in with a pair of 90s and a 91 from golfers on Wednesday.
All four of the Highlanders that played on Wednesday are seniors and Austin also said sending his class off with state-tournament gold was an emotional feeling.
“This group of seniors, I absolutely love them and I’m going to miss them next year,” Austin said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’ve been with them for three years and they’re just fantastic kids. They’re fun to be around and they like each other and that makes it really easy.”