Pisgah claims third-straight conference golf title

Apr. 30—Pisgah sophomore Matthew Mehaffey reeled off four birdies over a seven-hole stretch Monday afternoon to win medalist honors with a 1-over par 73 that helped propel the Bears to the Mountain 7 Conference golf championship at the Springdale Resort.

The title pushes Pisgah into Tuesday's Class 3A West Regional Golf Tournament Tuesday that will also be played at the Springdale Resort.

Franklin and Tuscola also qualified for next week's regional tournament that will feature 14 teams vying for three spots to the Class 3A State Golf Championships.

The conference tournament was played over three days on three different courses and Pisgah finished with a 945. Franklin was second with 959 while the Mounties took third with a 1,042.

Pisgah coach Bentley Rogers attributed the Bears' "consistent" play over the three rounds as the key to punching a ticket to the regional. Pisgah led Franklin by 10 strokes after the first round last Monday at Sky Valley and upped that lead to 14 after the second round last Wednesday at Cummings Cove Golf and Country Club in Hendersonville.

"We did a good job this year of making shots, making putts," Rogers said.

Pisgah sophomore Micah Devlin carded a 5-over 77 as the Bears finished 35-over par 323 on Monday, tying Franklin. Hank Bradley fired an 85 for the Bears while Jonah Smith carded an 88, Carson Ray 89.

All the golfers had to contend with the windy conditions that Mehaffey said made already difficult greens even more challenging.

"It was tough, the greens were super firm," Mehaffey said. "They were faster than normal."

The players started on the back nine at the 6,438-yard layout and Mehaffey made the turn at 2-over 38 after a birdie on the par-3 No. 17 hole.

"I missed the green on 17 but I chipped it in," Mehaffey said.

The chip-in provided a boost of confidence as the sophomore then recorded birdies on three of the first five holes on the front nine to move to 1-under par for the day.

"I set myself up off the tee by hitting fairways," Mehaffey said. "I made some putts."

But Mehaffey closed out his round with back-to-back bogeys on No. 8 and No. 9 to finish at 1-over par.

"I didn't hit it good off the tee the last two holes," Mehaffey said. "I put myself into some bad situations."

Rogers called Mehaffey's 1-over par 73 a "good score for this golf course."

"There are very few kids that can shoot that low on this golf course," Rogers said. "This golf course has a lot of challenges and Matthew is comfortable on this golf course."

Springdale is the Bears' home course and Mehaffey feels that will be an advantage for Pisgah heading into the regional.

"This course can get in your head, so you have to be careful," Mehaffey said. "I feel it will give us an advantage."

Devlin rebounded from a 5-over effort on the first nine holes on the backside to finish the front nine with an even-par 36 for his 77. Devlin had three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey over his final nine holes.

"The greens were hard and it was tough to get it stopped," Devlin said. "But I made a couple of long putts and I had a chip in."

Devlin said he is looking forward to playing the regional tourney at Springdale.

"We made regional as a team and we're looking to make state as a team," Devlin said.

Mehaffey was named the conference Player of the Year following the tournament. Devlin, Bradley and Smith were named to the all-conference team.