High school golf

Another season, another program-best finish for the Myrtle Beach High girls golf team.

The Seahawks placed fourth at the SCHSL Class 4A girls golf tournament at The Hackler Course in Conway, improving on their previous year’s finish for the third consecutive season and placing higher than any previous Myrtle Beach squad.

“I wished we had finished higher but I’m happy with fourth,” said third-year Myrtle Beach coach Lowell Counce. “Back in August, nobody expected us to do this well. With everything we’ve been through - the hurricane and only playing eight matches - for us to go 7-1, win the region for the first time, lose Lower State by only one stroke, and place the highest ever at state, I’m proud of them.”

Myrtle Beach (730) was led by senior Essie Rike (93-82—175) and junior Taylor Pirrtima (92-83—175), who knocked a combined 20 strokes off Monday’s opening-round scores. Teammates Sophia Li Vigni (90-93—-183) and Madison Hinde (97-100-197) rounded out the Seahawks’ foursome.

North Myrtle Beach (775) scored a 10th-place finish. The Chiefs were led by Brianna Joyner (84-85—-169) and Cara Hilburn (88-88—176). Savannah Jordan (104-101—205) and Kalynn Basehoar (112-113—225) closed out the scoring for North Myrtle Beach.

Class 5A

* Tuesday’s final round of the SCHSL Class 5A girls golf tournament marked the end of two local golf dynasties, but it might have signaled the start of two future ones.

Following an impressive past in Class 4A, St. James fell short in its 5A debut for a fourth straight state title. Sharks senior Smith Knaffle was unable to complete a three-peat as individual state champion.

However, the 5A tourney at the Mid-Carolina Country Club in Prosperity saw a pair of Grand Strand youngsters rise to the occasion and throw their golf hats in the ring as title contenders for years to come.

St. James freshman Adrian Anderson finished third individually to lead the Sharks to a fourth-place showing, and Carolina Forest eighth-grader Mia Gray tied for sixth individually for the 13th-place Panthers.

St. James overcame a tough opening day to place in the top five. Anderson shot 75-74—149 and Knaffle carded 80-74—154 for ninth to earn all-state honors. Teammates Amanda Meno (90-82—172) and Katie Smith (100-95—195) gave the Sharks a team total of 670, 57 strokes behind three-time champion Lexington (670), good for fourth place.

Gray bounced back from a first-day 80 to fire an even-par 72 on Tuesday to lead Carolina Forest (763) and make the all-state squad. Teammates Alayna Fortenberry (91-83—174), Victoria Callahan (90-91—181) and Riley Hunter (130-126—256) closed out the scoring for the Panthers.

A pair of individuals in the 5A tournament represented Conway for the first time in program history — Lora Ledbetter (88-88—176) and Taylor Reaves (95-93—188).

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