If Josh Fickes isn't peaking at midseason, then Beaufort High School's golf opponents the rest of the season should be wary.
The Eagles' senior and Clemson commitment shot a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine at Dataw Island Golf Club's Cotton Dike Course on Wednesday to win individual medalist honors in a Region 8-AAAA golf match.
Beaufort High came up just short as a team, losing by a stroke to Fort Dorchester, 156-157. Ashley Ridge was third at 160 and Summerville was fourth at 163. Bluffton did not play.
"We had higher scores than we wanted from some of the guys, but Josh's 32 is nice and Keaton (Butler) is getting back in the swing of things with a 2-over 38," Beaufort High coach Brook Dixon said.
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Fickes' 32 was two shots clear of the next closest golfer, Zak Butt of Ashley Ridge. Were it not for a mistake on Fickes' last hole, the gap would have been larger.
"He's been playing really well. He's solid," Dixon said. "Watching him mature has been nice. He's so much better today than he was as a sophomore or a junior. Mentally, he's good."
"I don't think I missed a green and I made putts," Fickes said. "Toward the end, I made some 20 footers. I made an eagle on the par-5 third hole. I just really putted better. I'm always hitting it pretty good. Hitting it OK, but putts started to fall and that's when I play well."
Dixon said Fickes' only mistake was on his final hole.
"He was 5 under going into the last hole," Dixon said. "It's a driveable par 4 but it's a tough hole. And he was trying to get on the green and hit the only bad shot he hit all day and put it in the water.
"For him to make a bogey from there and post a 4-under 32 with a bogey is a pretty good round."
"I was like, 'Coach, what do you think? Let's go for 29.' " Fickes said. "And he was like, 'Hit driver, let's do it.' I didn't hit it well. I duck-hooked it. Before the round, I was going to hit 2-iron on that hole. I didn't stick to the plan."
Fickes said he has made a lot of progress with his iron play because of extra hours spent working before and after practice. He also doesn't feel like he's peaking too soon.
"I'm working on the right things that'll last the whole year -- my putting and my wedges," Fickes said. "I'm always going to need those. If I keep correcting my wedges, I think I'll be OK."
As for the team as a whole, Dixon just wants his boys to keep improving.
"Just get better every day. Eliminate mental mistakes," Dixon said. "I don't know if we had a whole lot today, but take double- and triple-bogeys off the scorecard. Pars are good."
The Eagles will be back at it at 4 p.m. Thursday when they host Bluffton and Hilton Head Island High.
"We'll see if we can't put a good number up there and win one as a team," Fickes said.
Fort Dorchester 156, Beaufort High 157, Ashley Ridge 160, Summerville 163
At Dataw Island Golf Club, Cotton Dike Course, par 36
Individual Medalist: Josh Fickes, Beaufort High 32
Fort Dorchester individuals: R.J. Keur 36, Ky Matsumoto 40, Brendt Clark 40, Jackson Trigiani 40, Dane Henderson 45
Beaufort High individuals: Fickes 32, Keaton Butler 38, Matthew Campbell 43, Alex Porter 44, Patrick Watson 45
Ashley Ridge individuals: Zak Butt 34, Austin Zoller 38, Jacob Daley 43, Doug Hetzal 45, Reece Keegan 51
Summerville individuals: Barron Knight 36, Christian Woods 39, Andrew Purcell 39, Jack Robinson 49, Erik Von Nessen 49