Seahawks golf

Myrtle Beach High School's golf team practices at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club on Tuesday. The Seahawks are the lower state champions vying for the state title. Photographed are, from left, Dalton Todd, coach Lowell Counce, Dock Jarman and Keegan Vaugh.

After Myrtle Beach High golfer Holden Grigg’s record-setting 2017 Class 4A state individual title that led the Seahawks to a runner-up finish, the then-sophomore was presented with his state championship ring. His reaction is one of the reasons Myrtle Beach is poised to capture the school’s first state championship in the sport at next week’s state tournament.

“He tried it on, put it back in the box and gave it to his parents to keep,” recalled Myrtle Beach golf coach Lowell Counce, whose team claimed the Class 4A Lower State title earlier this week. “They said, ‘Aren’t you going to wear it?’ He said, ‘Not until everybody else gets one.’ That says a lot about the kind of kid he is, and it carries over to the team.”

The quest to win the state title has seen the Seahawks pull together and transform the predominately individual sport into a true team endeavor. The fun-loving group can go after each other competively in a practice round and turn something as simple as chipping drills into a contest of skill, complete with unrelenting smack talk and high-stakes wagers.

“They’re like brothers. They can get after each other one minute, and the next thing you know they are cutting up and having a good time,” Counce said. “They make bets to see who gets to sit where in the van. We’re coming back from Lower States (in Hilton Head) and Holden is sitting in the back seat. He says, “Coach, I shot 78 so I have to sit in the back.’”

Grigg takes a back seat to no one when it comes to his chances of repeating, but he has faced some fierce competition within his own team this season. He may be No. 1 in the state, but he hasn’t always been the top guy on the roster this season as senior Dock Jarman and sophomore Keegan Vaugh have won their share of medalist honors for Myrtle Beach this season.

As important to the Seahawks’ team title hopes is the progress of their Nos. 4 and 5 golfers - Chris Pacyna and Dalton Todd. Pacyna carded a 76 and Todd tied Grigg with a 78 at the Lower State tournament. Jarman fired a 72 for runner-up medalist honors, and Vaugh shot 74 for a team score of 300. It was the first time all year that each starter shot in the 70s.

“We’re always pushing each other,” said Jarman, who along with Todd made the transition from the Myrtle Beach baseball team to the golf links. “Whether it’s in a tournament and we’re trying to pick each other up or out here at practice just messing around, we’re always trying to make each other better. If one of us it playing well, it makes all of us want to.”

Vaugh credits the Seahawks’ balance for making them a state title contender, which is critical in a sport where one bad score can sink the entire team. “Our 4 and 5 players have been stepping up lately and that’s huge,” he said. “Even if three of us play well, you have to have that 4 and 5 guy come through to if you want to beat the teams we have to beat.”

The Seahawks have another factor on their side when they face off with the other top 15 teams in Class 4A on Monday and Tuesday - a sort of home course advantage.

The two-day tourney tees off Monday at The Hackler Course on the campus of Coastal Carolina University in Conway.

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