Big East golf teams to decide champion at Birchwood Country Club

By Jessie H. Nunery

Sports Editor

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Monday’s Big East Conference boys’ golf tournament will tie up some loose ends from the five regular-season matches.

Heading into the 2 p.m. shotgun start at Birchwood Country Club in Nashville, Wilson Fike holds an 18-stroke lead against rival Wilson Hunt for the league championship.

Southern Nash sits comfortably in third place, more than 100 strokes better than fourth-place Northern Nash.

That puts the Firebirds as the final Big East Conference team that will earn a berth in the NCHSAA 3-A regional tournament.

Southern Nash has five of the top 17 golfers in the league based on strokes average, led by three-time all-conference member Haywood Brantley (82.6 average).

Brantley’s teammate Josh Harden is seventh in the conference at 84.6 to give the Firebirds one of the better 1-2 combos in the league.

“Haywood and Josh have been pretty consistent for us all year,” Southern Nash coach Scott Collie said. “I had high expectations of them coming into the season. They’ve played really solid for us and have been two we can count on all year.”

Birchwood Country Club will provide a solid challenge for the field of golfers. Collie said course knowledge will play a factor, and he will stress to his team that they should play below the hole on all but the last of the 18 greens.

“All the greens slope from back to front,” Collie said. “If you get behind the pin or go long over the green, it makes it difficult to get up and down.”

While the team finishes are not expected to change, there still are individuals competing for a spot in the regionals.

The top for stroke averages of the season from players not on regional competing teams (Northern Nash, Nash Central, Rocky Mount High) will earn a spot in the 3-A Eastern Regional.

Joseph Cook (Nash Central), Zack Stussie (Northern Nash) and Matt Bertilino (Northern Nash) have spots all but locked up for the regional.

Northern Nash teammates Tommy Howard (98.25) and Tucker Daughtridge (98.8) will decide the final spot Monday. on Monday.

’s round.

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or jhnunery@rmtelegram.com