Polk County boys golf coach Pat McCool felt his 2020 Wolverines had a chance to add a few trophies to the school’s display case.
The coronavirus pandemic, though, ended that opportunity, halting the season after a handful of matches.
This year’s Polk County team is more than making up for that lost time.
The Wolverines put together a masterful effort Monday, winning the program’s first regional championship since 2008 with a 29-shot victory in the 1A West Regional at Meadowbrook Golf Course.
Three Polk County players fired rounds in the 70s as the Wolverines qualified for the two-day state 1A tournament, set to begin next Monday at Foxfire Resort and Golf Club in Jackson Springs.
Polk County posted a team total of 315, 29 shots ahead of runner-up Lincoln Charter.
Senior Carson Emory led the Wolverines on Monday, opening his round with a 1-under 35 and finishing with a 2-over 75 on the par-73 layout, tying for second, one shot behind regional champion William Spicer of Thomas Jefferson. Mitchell’s Connor Warren also posted a 75.
Playing in the first group of the afternoon, Emory parred eight of the first nine holes and added a birdie on the par-5 seventh hole. He had seven pars, a bogey and double bogey on the final nine.
Teammates Avery Harden and Evan Jones each shot 79 to tie for fourth place. Harden had two birdies in a first-nine 38 while Jones rebounded from a 44 on the front side with a sizzling 35 on the final nine, birdieing the 11th and 16th holes and then firing an approach shot to within 10 feet to birdie the 18th.
Casey Beiler’s 82 closed the team scoring for Polk, Beiler notching a birdie on the par-3 second hole, and Reilly Yoder added an 84 for the Wolverines.
1A WEST REGIONAL
1. Polk County 315; 2. Lincoln Charter 344; 3. Murphy 390; 4. Highlands 415.
William Spicer, Thomas Jefferson 39-35 — 74
Carson Emory, Polk County 35-40 — 75
Connor Warren, Mitchell 36-39 — 75
Avery Harden, Polk County 38-41 — 79
Evan Jones, Polk County 44-35 — 79
Jackson Tedder, Cherryville 40-40 — 80
Kaden Smith, Avery 39-42 — 81
Casey Beiler, Polk County 39-43 — 82
Levi Andrews, Avery 39-44 — 83
Gabe Baker, Highland Tech 44-40 — 84
Sam Bruce, Lincoln Charter 41-43 — 84
Jonathon Jones, Lincoln Charter 42-42 — 84