Golf

Area high school golfers defeat Scotland in annual Morcott Challenge Cup

ccox@islandpacket.comApril 12, 2013 

The relaxed style of play over the last three days in the Morcott Challenge Cup had little effect on the competitive nature of Wesley Long.

The Bluffton High School senior took to the course at the Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie on Thursday just as laid-back as his teammates. But when it came time to get to business, Long was there for his group when they needed him most.

The Bobcats standout clinched the Americans' victory in the ninth edition of the Morcott Challenge Cup after picking up three points in his singles match against Scotland's Steven Clark. The sweep was one of six victories on the afternoon for the team from the Lowcountry, which took down the Royal Dornoch Golf Club 33-15 over the three-day event.

"It's fun to play in this," Long said. "But it's still competitive out there. You're still competing and trying to play your best. It's more relaxed than playing in a big tournament over the summer, like the state tournament."

Long was three down on the back nine through the first three holes, but rallied to win four of the last six to take the match. His 3-0 triumph capped a third consecutive victory in the series for the Americans, who won for the first time a year ago at Royal Dornoch in Scotland, one of the world's oldest golf courses.

"It's awesome over there," said Long, who has been on the team in each of the last three victories. "It's tough playing their course. It's a lot different when you go over there. The fairways run out a lot and the rough is really thick."

Royal Dornoch faced similar issues in its trip to the Lowcountry this year. The team is accustomed to high winds on its home course, coach Gary Dingwall said, and struggled to adjust over the course of the week.

"You've got to flight the ball through the air versus Scotland, it's all the ground because it's so windy," he said. "The ball runs out a lot more. They find it really tough to change over."

Those struggles were evident through the first three rounds. The Americans took a commanding 10 1/2-1 1/2 lead on Tuesday in four-ball matches at Colleton River Plantation's Dye Course. The lead swelled to 17-7 entering the final day after the Americans captured a 6 1/2-5 1/2 win in foursomes Wednesday at Long Cove Club.

Hilton Head Christian Academy's J.D. Lehman paced the Americans through the first two rounds, as the Louisville signee shot a bogey-free 68 Tuesday before teaming with Andrew Orischak to fire a 64 in alternate shot a day later.

The Americans will try for a fourth consecutive victory in the series next year, when the team makes a return to Scotland. Dingwall's group will be there waiting, as the group will begin the 36-hour trip home later this afternoon.

"The kids just love it," Dingwall said. "They absolutely love it. They get to stay with the families and make friends. Hopefully lifelong friends. They get to see the way of life in the South and they get to experience the golf courses."

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