SouthWest Edgecombe junior Cole Jefferys was honest with his mother before he departed during the weekend for the NCHSAA 2-A state golf tournament.
Jefferys didn’t have any idea what to purchase as a gift for Mother’s Day, so the only thing he knew to do was make a promise.
“I told her, ‘I’m going to play my best in the state championship. I hope you’ll be satsified with that for Mother’s Day,’” Jefferys said. “I’m so happy to give her a good Mother’s Day present.”
Jefferys gift didn’t cost anything besides some grit, determination and skill as he finished with a competitive-best 68 on Tuesday to win the individual 2-A state championship at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines.
Jefferys’ play led the way to a fourth-place finish for SouthWest Edgecombe, which overcame sub-par showings at the state level the past two seasons.
Jefferys finished with a two-day score of 139, edging his closest competitor, Salisbury’s Eric Edwards, by three strokes.
It was Jefferys’ day, but all he could think about while on the course and in the hours after were those close to him, like teammate Eric Norville, who has been battling cancer for the past year.
He thought about how cool it would be to greet his coaches afterward, including former coach Raymond Cobb, who mentored him when he was a freshman.
Wearing a gray belt and hat whose colors symbolized the brain cancer Norville is fighting, Jefferys shot three consecutive birdies during a stretch of the final nine holes.
His eyes began to water while on the course, even though he had no idea if his score would be good enough to win it all.
He entered the day trailing the overall leader by two strokes.
“I got a little emotional out there at one point thinking about actually getting it done, not for myself, but for everyone who supported me since I was a freshman,” Jefferys said.
One day after shooting a 321, SouthWest Edgecombe shot a 308, with each of their players producing in a major way.
Seniors Nathan Webb and Ryan Chatt both finished with 74s.
“I was impressed with their maturity,” Cougars coach Jonathan Cobb said. “When they knew they were out of it as individuals, they showed a lot of selflessness in battling for their team so we could have a fantastic score.”
Jack Coltrane, in his first season with the Cougars, finished with a 92, which was five shots better than his first-day score.
“All of us on our team are indebted to him for being that fourth player for us,” Cobb said. “He put us in position at the regionals to make states.”
Jefferys is the school’s second player to win an individual title and the second in his family.
His cousin, Chad Webb, who grew up in a house across the street from Jefferys outside of Macclesfield, won the 3-A state title in 1997 – the same year Jefferys was born.