Westbrook wins second straight state golf title

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Photo: The Westbrook Christian boys golf team gathers for a photo after winning the Class 3A state championship on Tuesday, May 14 at Florence’s Shoals RTJ Golf Course. Pictured, from left: coach Rob McHugh, Cove McHugh, Eli Edge, J.D. Berndt, Braxton Wolfe, Nolan Terrell, coach Greg Edge. (Submitted photo) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

For the second year in a row, Westbrook Christian ended up as the cream of the crop in Class 3A boys golf.
In a rain-shortened second round last Tuesday (May 14) at the AHSAA state tournament at Florence’s Shoals RTJ Golf Course, the Warriors finished with a 157 round in nine holes. That total, combined with Monday’s 308 score, gave Westbrook a two-day total of 465, 10 strokes better than runner-up Northside Methodist. The Warriors finished 33 strokes over par.
It was Westbrook’s fifth state title over the past nine years.
“I’m really glad that we were able to finish the tournament, because now no one can say that [the state title] wasn’t earned,” said Westbrook coach Greg Edge. “I thought we played solid from top to bottom.”
Senior Eli Edge finished runner-up in individual scoring with a two-day score of four-over-par 114. J.D. Berndt’s 118 score was good for fourth place overall, just ahead of Nolan Terrell (pictured at right) at 119. Cove McHugh placed 10th with an overall score of 122.
“It wasn’t Eli’s best performance ever, but it was enough to get by,” said Westbrook coach Greg Edge, Eli’s dad. “But the whole team contributed both days, and J.D. was actually our lowest [scoring] guy after day 1.
“Cove really bounced back on day 2 and ended up making a huge difference for us, as did Nolan. Our three and four scorers were definitely the difference for us.”
In individual competition, Braxton Wolfe shot a 136 score.
“Braxton had a huge improvement from day 1 to day 2,” said Greg Edge. “He had a couple of birdies [on day 2] and it looked like he felt more comfortable.”
“Braxton had one hole where he finished five-over [par], which set him back a bit, but just the experience of competing in that environment was huge for him,” added coach Rob McHugh.
Both coaches agreed that the Florence course was a bit easier than the RTJ Grand National Golf Course in Opelika, where the Warriors won their 2023 state championship.
“We practice a lot at Silver Lakes (in Glencoe), which makes those [courses] a little easier,” said Greg Edge. “But the competition this year was definitely stronger.”
Edge and McHugh noted that at some point during the season, each of the top four golfers finished as low medalist at a tournament.
“When you have any one of four, and sometimes five, guys being able to finish as a low medalist at any given time, that’s tough to beat,” said Greg Edge. “These guys push each other and challenge each other to get better, and it’s really cool to watch. Coach Rob coaches them more that I do; I just organize things and they go out and do it. “
Rob McHugh pointed to the current group’s work ethic as a major factor for its success.
“The biggest thing about this group is that you can’t run them off the golf course (after a team practice). Coach Edge will tell them that we’re going home, and they’ll stay until after dark to try and get better. Also, they all like each other and hang out together when they’re not playing golf, and I think that really helps with the team che-mistry.”
Berndt, Cove McHugh and Wolfe will return for next season, in which Westbrook will compete in Class 4A due to the AHSAA Competitive Balance Rule.
“The competition level will be harder, but we have some guys who haven’t emerged yet that will probably step up and fill some of those spots,” said Greg Edge.
“We’ve already told the guys that we’ll have to play better than we did [in Florence] if we’re going to make it in 4A,” said Rob McHugh. “But I think they’re looking forward to the challenge.”

 

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