It was a fitting end to Philip Oweida’s remarkable high school golf career that, on the final hole of the season’s biggest stage, the Myers Park senior further cemented his legacy in Mustangs golf lore by coming through in the clutch.
Oweida carded a second-round score of 69 at this year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A championship, the third-lowest total of the day. But the performance placed him in a tie for fourth place with a two-day total of 145.
It was a familiar situation for Oweida. The week before, he was one of three golfers who, before South Mecklenburg’s Will Rainey won the tiebreaker, shared the Class 4A Western Regional lead. As a sophomore, Oweida tied for fourth place at the state tournament, but lost the playoff hole.
This time, however, Oweida wouldn’t be denied. On the resulting playoff, against Hough High’s Seth Gandy at the par-5 17th hole on the famed Pinehurst No. 8 course, Oweida emphatically settled the tiebreaker with an eagle.
Now, he can add Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2013 Southern Mecklenburg Boys Golfer of the Year to his collection of accomplishments.
While impressive, such an ending was pretty much par for Oweida’s career, even if he didn’t think it was possible at first.
“When I came in as a freshman I was obviously smaller,” Oweida said. “But I never saw myself being where I am now. I think I’m most proud of how I’ve grown in the four years and how much better I’ve gotten.”
Since that time, Oweida has also built a strong reputation nationally; out of 2,600 players, Juniorgolfscoreboard.com lists him as the 87th-ranked golfer in the Class of 2013.
Oweida, who will join the High Point University golf team in the fall, said he’ll look back on his high school career fondly, especially the time spent with his Myers Park teammates.
The Mustangs knocked on the state championship’s door each of the past three seasons with a stable of talent that also counted Davis Morrison, Austin Morrison, Luke Thalman and Andrew Simmons among its top players.
The group finished second at the 2011 state championships, third last year and tied for the team lead in the final standings this season. Even though they lost the ensuing playoff, Oweida said he’s proud of the Mustangs’ run.
“Even though we didn’t win, I’d still say that (the state tournament) was the highlight,” Oweida said. “We gave it our best shot and everyone came together as a team. That was probably the closest we got throughout high school and I think I played pretty well, too, so it was a cool experience.”