Beaufort High School golf coach Brook Dixon thinks his team has as good a shot as anybody in the Class 4-A Boys State Golf Championship that starts today at the Furman University Golf Course in Greenville.
"I'm looking at the competition and it's stiff," Dixon said. "The course is really tough. But I like our chances. We're taking some kids up there that can really play."
The Eagles' top two players -- Taylor Simonsen and Josh Fickes -- have played the course before and should be able to give their teammates some insight. And Dixon says his team is just starting to come around.
"If we stay focused and keep our composure," Dixon said, "I think we can put up some really good scores."
Hilton Head Island High and Bluffton will tee it up in the Class 3-A championship at Coastal Carolina's Hackler Course in Conway.
Hilton Head High coach Bill Smith has high expectations for the Seahawks.
"I'm hoping for a top-5 finish, but you never know which team is going to show up on any given day," Smith said. "If they play up to their capabilities, I'm hoping for a top 5."
Smith said he has a young team, and indeed, the Seahawks' top player is seventh-grader Andrew Orischak.
"He plays well in all the local junior tournaments," Smith said. "He tends to thrive in pressure situations. He's been our No. 1 in almost every match this year."
Hilton Head High may have an advantage over many of the other teams. Four of the Seahawks' starting five played the Hackler Course during the Parker Invitational in March.
Bluffton coach David Crosby said his team hasn't lived up to its potential yet this season.
"We had a flatter year than what we expected," Crosby said. "We're very talented, but we just haven't gelled with everyone playing well at one time. Our last two weeks have been our best two weeks, but there's a lot of room for improvement."
Crosby said the Hackler Course will be tough for his team, citing changes to the greens to make them more difficult. Still he expects a top-10 finish and is hopeful his squad can break into the top 5.
"Our top three can post low-70s rounds," Crosby said. "But that fourth scorer will be our ticket."
4-A BOYS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
Furman University Course, Greenville
Beaufort High tee times (10th tee): Kevin Feltner, 8:40 a.m.; Joel Fickes, 8:48 a.m.; Josh Fickes, 8:56 a.m.; Tommy Earl, 9:04 a.m.; Taylor Simonsen 9:12 a.m.
3-A BOYS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
Hackler Course, Coastal Carolina University, Conway
Bluffton tee times (10th tee): Seth Kombrink, 8:18 a.m.; Pierce Brehany, 8:26 a.m.; Elliott Johnson, 8:34 a.m.; Alec Weary, 8:42 a.m.; Wesley Long, 8:50 a.m.
Hilton Head Island tee times: Gavin Lindstrom, 7:38 a.m.; Chris O'Donnell, 7:46 a.m.; Brooks Moody, 7:54 a.m.; Troy Hoisington, 8:02 a.m.; Andrew Orischak, 8:10 a.m.