North Augusta Jackets, Neal win Class AAAA Boys' Golf Titles
The goal worked toward since last May for the North Augusta boys’ golf team has been to get back to the state championship tournament and play up to their ability.
The Yellow Jackets had come up painfully short of a Class AAAA title in each of the last two years, finishing runner-up to A.C. Flora both times. They’ve spent almost the entire season alone atop the state rankings, and with the state championship at their home course this year there was all the more reason why this would be their time.
Then they opened up a sizeable lead after the first round at The River Golf Club, at which point head coach Travis Spears came up with another personal goal that he didn’t share with many others.
He wanted to see his team not just win the title Tuesday, but to also set the state championship scoring record in the process.
His Jackets gave him one of the best scores in state history to deliver North Augusta its first boys’ golf state title in 40 years, and for good measure senior Davis Neal added an individual title - becoming the first Jacket to do so since Matt NeSmith in 2012 - when he beat Greenville’s Tip Price in a sudden-death playoff.
What a finish. What a season. What a team.
“I cannot praise this team enough,” Spears said. “These guys, I always say there’s a difference between people that play golf and golfers. Those golfers are the ones that are out here every day. These kids worked all 12 months for this. After finishing second two times in a row, the seniors especially had a goal to win this and they worked their tails to make sure it happened.”
“It’s awesome. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s what we’ve been wanting to do all year,” said Neal, who started the season with a 7-under 64 as he and the Jackets swept the titles at Greenville’s Red Raider Invitational. “I’ve always thought I had it in me, but to finally do it here at the last event is all I could ask for.”
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Photos courtesy of Kyle Dawson/Aiken Standard.