Watauga High junior Austin Northern made a strong showing at the NCHSAA Class 4A Western Regional championships on Monday. Northern fired a one-under-par 71 at the Northstone Country Club in Charlotte to make the cut.
He also finished four shots off the lead. Henry Simp of Myers Park won the regional championship with a five-under 67. Northern advances to the state championships next Monday and Tuesday at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, N.C.
Myers Park won the team championship with a team score of 289. Cornelius-Hough finished 11 shots back with a 300 and Charlotte-Providence was third with a 301. Myers Park, Hough and Providence all qualified for the state tournament.
The Pioneers had four regional qualifiers in the field. Troy McNeil fired a seven-over par 79, senior Austin Graham had an 81 and Rory McNeil had an 86.
"I'm very proud of Austin," said WHS coach Mike Northern. "He was really on his game today. That was a tough course, and the field was loaded with great players, but Austin had his best performance of the season. It's been a while since we've been to states."
Northern is WHS' first individual qualifier since the Jack Groce era more than 20 years ago. The Pioneers last qualified for the state tournament as a team in 2004 and 2005. Both those teams were led by Jacob Eggers, who went on to play at Appalachian State University. The Pioneers finished sixth in '04; they tied for tenth in '05.
Photo Courtesy: Austin Northern, WHS Athletics