Each of SouthWest Edgecombe’s top golfers has one of those easier-said-than-done goals whenever they step on the course: Shoot below 75.
The Cougars have made it look just as easily done.
That goal has the Cougars thinking about more than just the team’s third straight trip to the state tournament, because all four can do it consistently.
They’ve been doing it for the past three years.
Ryan Chatt, Nathan Webb, Eric Norville and Cole Jeffreys have all been to the state championship the past two years. Seniors Chatt, Webb and Norville, who recently was declared cancer-free after his battle with a brain tumor, bring plenty of experience.
Jeffreys is just a junior, but he has been the team’s low-scorer through the first two tournaments, during which they faced Wilson Hunt and Wilson Fike.
SouthWest Edgecombe will begin conference play Monday at Farmville Central.
“Any of those guys can medal at any given day,” SouthWest Edgecombe coach Jonathan Cobb said.
Norville won’t return to full action for up to six weeks, but when he does, the Cougars will have a foursome equal in experience to just about any team in the state.
Through the first three tournaments, SouthWest Edgecombe’s top three golfers – six total rounds – have had just one score higher than 76.
Cobb said that his team could shoot in the 200s with the top four at full strength. That time should come right around the end of the season.
“They’ve been our top golfers, they were last year as well as the year before,” Cobb said. “They’ve had great high school golfer careers. ... As a team, we’ve got to focus on winning our conference first.”
Without Norville, the Cougars will have to rely on a trio of freshmen to put together the fourth scorer every tournament.
While the trio shoots above 100, Cobb has seen something that gives him confidence in both lower scorers and his team in general.
The Cougars can’t have practice on the weekends, but sometimes, Cobb heads out for a few strokes of his own.
Routinely, he’ll look across the fairway and see a pair of his golfers working together – an upperclassmen and a freshman.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the younger golfers blossom under their tutelage,” said Cobb, who added that his veterans are more like assistant coaches. “... It’s impressive to watch.”
While the Cougars appear to be in complete control of the Eastern Plains Conference, other leagues might not be decided until the final holes.
Rocky Mount Academy and Faith Christian will be in the middle of Eastern Plains Independent Conference. Wilson Fike and Wilson Hunt are the likely front-runners in the Big East Conference, but Southern Nash is eyeing another trip to the state tournament and a conference title as well.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org