CHARLOTTE — The road to the Class 4A State Golf Tournament may be a bumpy one for the Myers Park High boys’ golf team but that doesn’t mean that the Mustangs won’t be in contention for a state championship come May.
Two years ago, Myers Park finished just one stroke behind 2016 state champion Pinecrest at the state tournament and last year the Mustangs finished third as Pinecrest again walked away with the championship trophy.
Myers Park has just one senior — Rex Brietz — on the roster but that doesn’t mean that the Mustangs’ roster is void of talent. Juniors Thomas Eubanks and Luke Hackworth both bring experience to the roster, but who will fill out the rest of the order is a question mark as the golf season gets underway.
Brietz, Eubanks and Hackworth are penciled in the top three spots but a group of golfers are currently battling for the final two spots in the order.
Myers Park coach Jason Lockwood is looking for the Mustangs to peak come postseason time. Myers Park won the 4A-West Regional last season by 11 stokes and they have won five of the last seven regional tournaments.
“We are going to be good at times early in the season, but at times we are going to make youthful mistakes,” Lockwood said. “There will be good moments and there will be learning experiences. After the top three, there is another tier of golfers fighting for those spots.”
While Myers Park is young on paper, there is still plenty of experience on the roster.
Eubanks brings two years state tournament experience to the team after finishing in eighth-place at state as a freshman and 32nd last year as a sophomore. Eubanks finished second at last year’s 4A-West Regional with a 2-under par 70. Hackworth won the regional last year with a 4-under 68 and he finished in eighth-place at the state tournament after a 2-over par 70-76 146. Brietz also teed it up at state last year.
Lockwood expects Hackworth’s success from last season to carry over this spring.
“Luke really grew throughout the season last year,” Lockwood said. “Luke didn’t start out in the top five (last year), but he worked extra hard. He spent time on the range and he changed his swing a little bit. The turning point came halfway through the year when his confidence grew and he posted some really good scores. The second part of last year, he was one of the most dependable guys in our lineup.”
Hackworth said he doesn’t expect the team to miss a beat this year.
“I think the team looks good this year,” Hackworth said. “The team chemistry is good this year, which I think plays a big role. We are all familiar with each other’s game so we can all help each other out. I think we have things rolling right.”
Lockwood said Eubanks’ postseason
tournament experience will be a plus for the Mustangs.
“Thomas was pretty much No. 1 and No. 2 all of last year,” Lockwood said. “He was very consistent in the conference tournament and he finished second at regionals to Luke.”
Eubanks, who has played in every tournament since his freshman season, said the Mustangs have the talent to make a run at a state title.
“I have learned a lot from the guys that I have played with here the last two years,” Eubanks said. “I think if we can keep knocking on the door (at state), I think it will come. We have been really close, but we have just lacked that one low round that schools like Pinecrest have had. I think if we can have a low round or two, and we draw on our experience, I think we can bring one back here.”
Grant Smith, Henry Muller, Malin Muckenfuss, Jerrod Gervasi, Pearse Lucas, Ben Morehead, Parker Shimp and Will Hartley are in the mix to break into the Mustangs’ order.
“We have some good sophomores and freshmen,” Lockwood said.
Myers Park practices and hosts some matches at Myers Park Country Club and Hackworth said playing one of the best courses in the area and having use of the club’s practice facilities is a plus for the Mustangs.
“It’s big to have a course that is this close,” Hackworth said. “The staff out here is great. This is a difficult course and it really helps us to be able to come out here and play.”