If another trip to the NCHSAA 2-A state championship match is upcoming, SouthWest Edgecombe will need significant help from its fourth scorer.
Nathan Webb, Cole Jefferies and Ryan Chatt are veteran golfers with averages in the 70s, but freshman Jack Coltrane is in his first season playing competitive golf. Coltrane’s growth has been rapid – he already is breaking 100 – and the Cougars need him to keep it up to survive the 2-A Eastern Regional today at Cutter Creek in Snow Hill.
“He has really stepped up and has been our fourth guy,” Cougars coach Jonathan Cobb said. “Jack has made vast improvements and his golf journey has just begun.”
SouthWest Edgecombe received some good luck with the regional site. Cutter Creek is the home course of former Eastern Plains Conference member Greene Central, so the Cougars’ top three golfers have experience playing the course competitively.
Cobb hopes familiarity leads to low scores. The Cougars still can qualify as a team, however, so Cobb said all his players need to turn in a good day.
“All season long we’ve kind of been at the mercy of a fourth scorer, and we expect it at regionals, but we still feel pretty comfortable,” Cobb said. “We feel pretty comfortable with ourselves if (Coltrane) can shoot under 100 and the rest of our guys play like they’ve been playing.”
Southern Nash qualified as a team for the 3-A Eastern Regional at Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia. The Firebirds will be joined by Zach Stussie, Matt Bertolino and Tommy Howard of Northern Nash and Joseph Cook of Nash Central, all of whom qualified as individuals.
Contrary to SouthWest Edgecombe, none of the Nash County golfers or their coaches know what they’ll see from a difficult Carolina National test.
“The best description I’ve heard is that you have to be precise with your second shots,” Southern Nash coach Scott Collie said. “Most greens are heavily guarded by bunkers and there’s a decent amount of water. I really don’t know what to expect.”
The course plays fairly long, including some lengthy par-3s.
The day will be decided by how golfers approach the greens, Northern Nash coach Rick Ruffin said.
“Accuracy is what they have to have,” Ruffin said. “They have to play smart golf, a really sound mental game. You have to drive well and be pinpoint with your accuracy.”
Both Ruffin and Collie said the course is quite different from what their golfers are used to.
After practice rounds Sunday, the coaches want a measured approach today.
“I want them to enjoy being here,” Ruffin said. “There are going to be some holes where you can have a bad hole, but you can’t dwell on it. There are some holes here that can really grab you if you aren’t careful.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz @rmtelegram.com