Tanner Smith is a perfectionist whose tendency is to get discouraged when things don’t go his way.
Enzo Farrar’s biggest demon tends to be fear.
But both Carolina Forest golfers displayed mental game maturity in the Class AAAA Lower State golf tournament, braving inclement weather in the process, to help lead the Panthers back to the state golf tournament for the first time since 2011.
Smith turned in an 8-over-par 80 while Farrar, the team’s lone senior, fired a 6-over-par 78 to lead the Panthers and tie for 15th overall in a round that took more than eight hours to finish due to thunderstorms.
Adam Allen shot 84 and Parker Stancil’s 85 rounded out Carolina Forest’s scoring.
The Panthers finished tied for sixth with Bluffton at 327.
Sumter coasted to a two-shot win at 302 and Sumter’s Charlie Dallery shot a 1-under-par 71 to win individual honors.
Consistency was what helped Carolina Forest qualify, said head coach Vil Caroso.
“It was shocking. Of all the teams I’ve had, it was the first year I didn’t really have a number one,” Caroso said. “They all at certain times of the year played really good.
The top eight Lower State and Upper State teams advance to the state tournament at Furman University.
The format included 36 holes Monday and 18 on Tuesday after the Carolina Forest Chronicle press time. Thirty-six hole standings were not available as of Tuesday afternoon.
Beech Creek Golf Club in Sumter served as host site for the Lower State tournament last week. Players competed from the tips, which were set up at 6,805 yards.
Beech Creek’s slope rating from the championship tees is set at 130. A golf course with a slope rating of 113 is considered to be of average difficulty, according to the United States Golf Association, which determines slope ratings.
Caroso said the course was incredibly difficult, citing narrow fairways and small, well-guarded greens. All of the par 3s were set up between 180 and 220 yards, he said.
“In the last five years, I’ve missed the states by one shot and two shots with scores of 317 and 318,” he said. “This year 330 got in. That tells you how difficult it was playing.”
Persistent storms prompted multiple weather delays, which Caroso said made the team’s performance that much more impressive.
Whenever lightning is spotted, players must wait 45 minutes before resuming play. Players started teeing off around 11 a.m. and didn’t finish until 7:45 p.m.
Things won’t be any easier at Furman.
The Greenville course is extremely hilly and the greens are traditionally slick and undulating. It measures 7,004 yards from the tips, but the back nine stretches to more than 3,600 yards.
Seven of 12 par 4s measure more than 400 yards. Two—the 469-yard 13th and the 459-yard 17th—are more than 450 yards.
“I gave them a goal,” Caroso said. “We’ve got three rounds there, if we can shoot under 1,000 for three rounds, I’ll be pleased.”
After the state tournament, Caroso heads back out on the links later in the week as assistant coach for the North-South All Star Tournament being held at Golden Bear Golf Club in Hilton Head. He’ll lead the team in 2016.
Caroso said Farrar got selected for the team and will play in the Ryder Cup-style competition. The South team has its work cut out given the quality of players from the upstate.
“We’re big time underdogs. The upper state had 35 applicants, and 31 of them were in the top 50 in the state,” Caroso said. “I had 15 applicants, and two in are in the top 50 in the state.”