Oct 11, 2018
Three-quarters of the way through the fall schedule of tournaments, it's a good bet that when the Sandhills Community College men's golf team plays a practice round at one of the local courses that the friendly competition is pretty intense.
Last Sunday and Monday at the Davidson Intercollegiate held at Asheboro Country Club, Coach Gus Ulrich's squad won its second tournament in a row. Leading by just four strokes after the first day, an even-par 71 by medalist Trey Capps, and a 1-under 70 by Nick Agapion, helped vault the Flyers to a 19-stroke victory over second place Spartanburg Methodist.
A week earlier in the Central Carolina Cougar Classic at Anderson Creek Golf Club, Capps made a birdie on the first playoff hole to nip teammate Ted Sluser for individual honors in another win by a large margin for the Flyers.
Led by Capps with a stroke average through three events of 76.0, five Flyers are within 3.5 strokes of their teammate including Agapion, 76.3, Sluser, 77.7, Thomas Storbeck, 78.5 and Austin Freeman, 79.5. Noa Bullough, a graduate of nearby Union Pines High School, is the other member of the team.
"Having a team that is so close in stroke average keeps them very competitive amongst themselves, which makes practices more productive," Ulrich says. "These kids are all in. I've never had a group so committed. They want to play golf every day. Success breeds more success and I think their confidence is very high right now."
Ulrich sets the bar high. Sandhills won the NJCAA Division III title in 2014 and was the runner-up last June for the third time. The 2019 championship will again be held at Chautauqua Country Club in Chautauqua, N.Y. on June 4-7.
Freeman is the only returnee from last year's team. It is a diverse group geographically. Freeman (Troy), Capps (Garner) and Bullough (Vass) are from North Carolina. Agapion (Gaffney, S.C.), Sluser (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Storbeck (Venture, Iowa) are from out of state.
"The fall season is experimental to determine where they are," the coach says. "We film them at the beginning of the season to give them a baseline on what they need to work on. This is the time to make changes. I think my top five guys are all capable of shooting par or better."
The Flyers opened the season on September 23-24 at the Don Scalf Invitational hosted by North Carolina Wesleyan. They finished in a tie for seventh place as one of two non-four-year colleges in a field of 14 teams. Sluser tied for 19th place with scores of 75-78-153 to lead the Flyers.
The fall season concludes on October 29-30 with the St. Andrews Fall Invitational at Scotch Meadows Country Club in Laurinburg. The spring campaign provides the opportunity to compete for a national title as well as possible individual advancement. The intra-squad competition can't do anything, but help in those pursuits.
"They are all striving to be competitive and to get the opportunity to move on to four year schools," Ulrich says. "Playing well at nationals will help them get noticed."
October 7, 8 - Davidson Intercollegiate - Team Standings – 1. Sandhills 300-298-598, 2. Spartanburg-Methodist 313-304-617, 3. Surry CC 304-314-618, 4. Patrick Henry 320-311-631, 5. Richard Bland 347-341-688, 6. Johnston CC 384-370-754. Sandhills - Individual results – 1. Trey Capps 73-71-144, 2. Nick Agapion 78-70-148, T-7 Thomas Storbeck 76-79-155, T-14 Noah Bullough 79-80-159, T-18 Austin Freeman 83-78-151, T-18 Ted Sluser 73-88-161
September 29, 30 -Central Carolina Cougar Classic – team Standings – 1. Sandhills 304-309-613, 2. Davidson County CC 342-347-689, 3. Wake Tech 354-356-710, 4. Johnston CC 358-364-722, Central Carolina CC NS. Sandhills- Individual Results - 1. Capps 78-74-152 (1st playoff hole), 2. Sluser 72-80-152, T-3 Agapion 74-79-153, 5. Freeman 80-80-160, 6. Storbeck 85-76-161.