Noah Smith fired an even-par 36 Wednesday afternoon at Harbor Oaks Golf Club, earning medalist honors for the Dewitt sophomore in a five-team match that included Watson Chapel and White Hall.
Smith bettered the field by four strokes, the nearest competitor being White Hall’s Trey Prince, who signed for a 40.
“I played good but I feel like I could have played a little better,” Smith said after his round. “But there’s always strokes you leave out there. But it could have been worse.”
Smith hit only three of seven fairways but found himself in close proximity of the short grass off the tee, leading to open shots to the green. His only errant tee shot was on the Par-4 fifth, Smith’s eighth hole of the day. Smith hit a quality shot from the trees that found the putting surface where he saved par.
“I didn’t hit a lot of fairways,” Smith said. “But I was not far from it all day.”
Smith matched his 36 at Dewitt on Aug. 8, also garnering him medalist honors.
White Hall won the team title with a 164, ten strokes ahead of Watson Chapel’s 174 and 17 shots clear of Dewitt’s 181. North Pulaski finished with a 193. Little Rock Mills was represented by Race Rogers, who carded a 49.
Prince’s 40 led the Bulldogs. He was followed by Drake Wrinkle and Jace Wilson with 41’s, Jeffrey Manning with 42 and Jake McNulty with 43.
Watson Chapel sophomore Dalton Barker was one of three Wildcats who signed for a 41. It was Barker’s career-best outing.
“That was very acceptable,” Barker said. “That’s probably the best nine-hole round I have ever shot at any course.”
Barker was paired with Prince and the duo played the first eight holes all square before a bogey on the final hole dropped Barker one shot off the White Hall senior’s pace.
“We actually played in the same group,” Barker said. “We were very competitive today and I lost to him by just one stroke. Everybody on our team did great. That’s a great score overall as a team.”
Tanner Jones and Reggie Regino also carded 41’s. Jones, a senior, had a score that was three or four strokes higher than his normal performance and Regino is a sophomore transfer from St. Joseph Catholic School. Landen Colson’s 51 was the final score to count, bettering teammates Jonathon Jones by one stroke, Trent Bogey by two and John Wauters by nine.
“We were not very competitive at all last year,” Barker said. “We had one really good golfer, Tanner Jones. He’s a really good golfer. Reggie has been a huge help coming here from St. Joseph’s and I’ve stepped up my game. We’ve just added a few pieces and it has really helped.”
Watson Chapel coach Matt Busch said the effort matched the last time Watson Chapel and White Hall squared off, a 10-shot win for the Bulldogs. He added that Jones played a key role for the Wildcats.
“We played well,” Busch said. “Obviously we will be as good as Tanner is. He’s been on the varsity for four years now and it’s his senior year. We went to Stonehenge a couple of weeks ago and he shot two over. So he’s very capable of shooting in the 30’s.”
Busch noted that the top three teams advance to state.
“We need to get rid of anything over a 50,” he said. “If we can keep it in the 40’s we will be better off. The top three teams go to state. We feel like if we stay close to White Hall, we will be one of those three.”
The two teams go head-to-head again at 3:30 pm. today at Pine Bluff Country Club.