Marvin Ridge King Of Class 3A Golf

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Marvin Ridge entered the 2017 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 3A Golf State Championship on a roll. The Mavericks ran the Southern Carolina Conference table before winning the regional in impressive fashion.

But the first round at state on May 8 at the Red Fox Course at Fox Fire Resort was a different story. Three of the five Marvin Ridge golfers turned in scores over 80 and the Mavericks found themselves three shots behind Tuscola heading into the the final round May 9.

“We put some pressure on ourselves the first day,” said Marvin Ridge golf coach Al Webster. “We didn’t perform our absolute best.”

But the Mavericks didn’t blink when it came crunch time.

Marvin Ridge improved its first round score by 15 strokes as the Mavericks ran away from the rest of the field to claim the school’s first state golf championship. Marvin Ridge finished with a two-day total of 615 while second-place Williams was 12 stokes back at 627. Tuscola finished third at 630.

“The second day, the guys really came through,” Webster said. “They really got it down. It was a super-strong performance the second day. The guys were really determined. All four scores that we counted were better than the prior day.”

Sophomore Zach Pardoll led the Marvin Ridge effort with a fourth-place finish in the individual standings after firing a 4-over 148. Pardoll recorded back-to-back birdies to start the back nine during Monday’s first round but three bogey’s and a double-bogey left him at 3-over after the first day.

Pardoll then fashioned two birdies around three pars the final day to finish at 1-over par 73 for a two-day 148 total.

“It was amazing for him to put that together and come in with a 148,” Webster said. “As a sophomore, he didn’t let the pressure get to him.”

Another big key for Marvin Ridge was the turnaround by Zack Swanson and Connor Targonski. Targonski opened the tournament with a 9-over 81 but rebounded in the second round with a 2-over 74. Targonski, who overcame two double-bogeys in the final round, had five birdies and had three straight birdies on holes No. 14-17 for his 2-over.

Swanson, who has signed with UNC-Charlotte, also opened the tournament with an 81 but the senior carded a 4-over 76 after posting three birdies.

“Those guys shooting in the 80s the first day was a big surprise,” Webster said. “The second day they came out and showed what they can do.”

Tyler Haines had a steady two-day total of 155 after finishing with a 77 in the final round. Haines had three birdies in the final round.

“Tyler Haines was also solid,” Webster said. “Everybody contributed and all the guys played well.”

Marvin Ridge, which won all six Southern Carolina Conference matches, rolled into the state tournament after an impressive outing at the regional tournament.

Marvin Ridge posted a 299 to defeat second place East Rowan (310) by 11 strokes. Weddington finished seventh at the regional with a 326 while Cuthbertson came in in eighth with a 328.

Swanson fired an even-par 72 to finish in a third-place tie at the regional while Pardoll finished in a tie for third with a 1-over 73. Targonski was at 3-over 75 while Will Frye also broke 80 with a 79.

Ryan O’Neil paced Cuthbertson at the regional with a 78 while Ben Lassiter was the top Weddington finisher with a 78.

Marvin Ridge

2017 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A Golf State Championship

Zach Pardoll 75-73 148

Tyler Haines 78-77 155

Connor Targonski 81-74 155

Zack Swanson 81-76 157

Will Frye 87-85 175

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at