Toast of the Coast

Toast of the Coast: Consistent Golden proved go-to guy for Waccamaw golf team

Patrick Golden watched most of the season as scores of players from other teams built solid leads early in tournaments.

Slowly but surely, his solid play made sure he was at or near the top of the leaderboard when it mattered. The Waccamaw sophomore and Toast of the Coast Boys Golfer of the Year was every bit the reliable player the Warriors needed en route to a second-place finish in the Class AA state championships.

“That’s how I’ve always been. I’ve never gone really high, never gone really low,” Golden said. “Every once in a while, I’ll shoot a low number. Consistency is one of the most important parts of the game. Someone could go out there and shoot 63 and people are like ‘Wow, look at him.’ Then he goes out and shoots a high number.”

Golden finished in 10th place individually in the state finals. In fact, that was one of the few times this year when a first-day score dropped him too far out of a higher place.

His 73 on day two of the tournament was tied for second-best among everyone who played, and was within his normal range he typically shot throughout the season, regardless of course or competition.

“He’s just Steady Eddie,” Waccamaw coach Chris Daily said. “I think he shot two rounds in the 80s all year. He didn’t go super low at all during the year. You knew he was going to go 73-76. He just kept doing what he was doing.

“When the situations got tougher, the other kids struggled.”

That may never have been more true than during Carolina Forest’s Panther Invite in March at the General James Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina.

Golden was one of the few players in the field able to navigate rain and wind. He finished with a two-over 74. And despite knowing it was going to be a tight finish, he did what Daily would see him do several more times this past season – finish roughly the same as he started.

“If the circumstance ever arose where I needed someone to hit some putts or finish it out, he’s the guy I would turn to,” Daily said.

In order to remain consistent, Golden did what so few other young players have been able to accomplish. Instead of focusing on driving distance or even fairway percentage, he turned to how he would finish each hole.

He stopped short of saying he’s discovered something others his age have not. But he proved the strategy worked for him.

“When I went to the range, I usually went straight to the putting green,” Golden said. “When I was young, I didn’t like to hit balls all that much. I created a lot of putting drills. I always look at it as putting involves a lot of things. You could have a terrible ball-striking day and still have a good day. If you’re putting well, you can get away with [an otherwise] bad day.”

And have a lot of consistent ones.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

The team

Boys Golfer of the Year

Patrick Golden

▪ School | Waccamaw

▪ Class | Sophomore

▪ Notable | Region VIII-AA Golfer of the Year, Panther Invite champion and Blue Jacket All-Tournament team pick finished with All-State honors after No. 10 finish in Class AA meet.

Vijay Mishra

▪ School | North Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Notable | North-South All-Star, All-Region VII-AAA honoree and two-time Toast of the Coast selection was a four-time medalist and won the Blue Jacket Invitational.

Michael Leftis

▪ School | Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Notable | Helped Seahawks finish third in the Class AAA state meet following a Lower State title in which he was tied for fourth; season-long nine-hole average of 36.0 and 18-hole clip of 74.0.

Karsten Kenley

▪ School | St. James

▪ Class | Junior

▪ Notable | Two-time Toast of the Coast selection tied for 16th at Class AAA State meet and finished in top 15 in all other meets throughout the season.

Daniel Graves

▪ School | North Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Notable | Coker College signee held a nine-hole average of 37.5 and 18-hole average of 75.6; three-time medalist tied for 28th at the Class AAA state meet.

John David Gooden

▪ School | Junior

▪ Class | Myrtle Beach

▪ Notable | Late-season charge included a fourth-place tie in the Class AAA Lower State and tie for 13th in state meet and helped Seahawks to third-place state finish.

Coach of the Year

David Small

▪ School | North Myrtle Beach

▪ Notable | Wrapped up 35th year at the school and 32nd in charge of the boys golf program by coaching the Chiefs to a ninth-place finish in the Class AAA state meet. Previously won three state titles and led three individuals to medalist honors throughout the course of his career.

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