Ballard finishes in tie for ninth in state 2A golf tournament

Polk County senior Will Ballard closed with a 76 Tuesday to finish in a tie for ninth place at the state 2A golf championships in Southern Pines.

Ballard finished with a two-day total of 147, his five-over-par total eight shots behind champion Cole Jefferys of Southwest Edgecombe. Jefferys fired a three-under par 68 to finish at 139 and win the tournament, held at Longleaf Golf and Country Club, by three shots.  Jefferys and Providence Grove’s Justin Emmons, who had a 71, were the only two players to match or break par in the final round, unlike the first day when six players matched or bettered par.

Salisbury’s Eric Edwards finished second at 142. There was a three-way tie for third decided by a playoff after Elliott Grayson of Shelby, Stephen Abrams of Wilson Beddingfield and Emmons all finished at 145. Grayson took third and Abrams fourth.

Newton-Conover had a solid second day performance in the team race, recording a 306 to go with a first-day 304 for a total of 610, giving the Red Devils their second consecutive 2-A team championship.

Shelby placed second, seven shots back. The Golden Lions qualified for the state tournament for the seventh consecutive year and have not finished lower than sixth during that stretch.

Salisbury, which won the championship in 2011 and ’12, was third at 626. Only 33 shots separated the top spot and the 12th team at the bottom of the standings after the first day, but the standings opened up during the final 18 holes.

The course was set at par 71 and 6,591 yards for the NCHSAA championship.