Just before the start of the season, coach Doug Langhals gathered his Hilton Head Christian Academy boys golf team together to write out some long-term goals.
The defending SCISAA Class 3-A state champions had a particular one in mind: Do it again.
The final step in that return journey begins Monday at The Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, and Langhals said his group is up to the task.
"This year we've got a great group of kids," Langhals said. "If they come out and play to the best of our abilities, we have a great chance."
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Langhals said finding motivation has not always been easy after such a successful campaign last year. But led by two standouts in Trace Crowe, named the top junior player in the state by the S.C. Junior Golf Association, and Bryson Nimmer, an all-state player last year, the Eagles have found an edge by looking to out-do each other.
"Our team is really competitive amongst themselves," Langhals said. "The most motivational thing this year has probably been that level of competition."
The Eagles also expect a challenge from local rivals and last year's third-place finishers Hilton Head Prep. Dolphins head coach Richie Bohrer said his team is finally coming to full strength, just in time for a title run. His squad has been bolstered by the late-season return of senior Art Griffin, who has missed all but two tournaments this spring.
"I think we definitely have a good shot," Bohrer said. "We definitely have a young squad. We only have one senior on the team. Having him back is a big help. He's almost like an assistant coach to me."
Bohrer said in order to defeat the defending champions, the Dolphins will have to get consistent play and focus on course management. In other words, they'll need to limit mistakes and when those come, avoid making a bad situation worse. His players are ready to take their shot at the state crown, especially if it means keeping it away from their rivals.
"You can kind of see it in their faces," Bohrer said of his players. "They're getting amped to compete."
Thomas Heyward Academy will compete for the Class 2-A title.
"I have a couple of guys that were on the team last year and I think they will take that experience they learned last year and apply it to this year," head coach Marty Bowers said. "I hope for a good showing. Hopefully all their games are meshing right now."
The tournament begins at 8 a.m. on Monday and continues through Tuesday.