PINEHURST — Two members of the Richmond Senior High School boys’ golf team competed in the NCHSAA 4A Mideast regional tournament on Monday.
Senior Ayden Mabe and freshman Kevin Tabacolde, the Raiders’ top two golfers all spring, played one final round at Pinehurst No. 6.
Returning to Course No. 6 for the second time in as many weeks, Mabe and Tabacolde each played 18 holes and came up shy of qualifying for the individual state championship.
“Ayden and Kevin both had those days where every break seems to go the opposite way,” head coach Keith Parsons shared. “Ayden had a putt on his first hole horseshoe on him — take a 180-degree trip around the cup — and stay out. And Kevin had a couple of shots bounce badly for him, which put him in difficult situations.
“I loved how both of them kept digging. Even though neither was particularly happy with his round, both scores were more than respectable.”
Mabe, a four-year golfer for the Raiders, played in his third regional tournament. His freshman season was cut short in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic and no golfers were eligible that season.
Starting on the back nine of the Tom and George Fazio designed course, Mabe was teamed with Christopher Ha (Jack Britt High School) and David Rossignol (Overhills High School).
Tabcolde competed in a group made up of Kris Gates (Overhills) and Ethan Emery (Jack Britt).
Both Raiders shot close to one another’s scores, with Mabe leading the way with a final score of 91 in his final round for Richmond. He posted a 45 on the back nine (his first holes played) and a 46 on the front nine.
Tabacolde was just behind, shooting a 94 on the day. The freshman notched a 48 on the course’s final nine holes before improving with a 46 on the front.
“I personally feel like I didn’t play to the best ability that I could have,” Mabe recounted. “I definitely missed a lot of shots and could never get the groove going that I needed to be in. But I am still very grateful for making it to regionals.”
“As a freshman, making it to regionals was really exciting and surprising,” Tabacolde said. “There was a lot of pressure playing with other really talented players and not knowing how the course conditions would play.
“On the back nine, I was hitting a lot of shanks. But on the front I corrected that by hitting the ball flat which led to me hitting more fairways and greens. That’s when I started making more pars.”
Tabacolde added that as he moves forward as Richmond’s top returning golfer next year, he hopes “the next few years will be an improvement for me and my game.”
During the past four years, Mabe has been one of the Raiders’ leading golfers. He served as the team’s captain this spring and said his time in green and gold has taught him a lot.
“Richmond golf has taught me a lot more about golf that I didn’t know before. Being able to play golf with other kids my age and compete has been such a pleasure,” Mabe said. “Making regionals three times means so much and makes me feel good that I could accomplish this every year that I was eligible to.
“Coach Parsons has helped me so much over the years to develop as a better golfer and a better person,” he added. “Parsons is always attending outside events and supporting me through school rather than just golf. I have enjoyed being able to play golf with my brother Jaxon and make regionals with him my sophomore year.
“The most important thing Richmond golf taught me was there’s always another hole and always more opportunities to be great.”
Parsons, who has served as the Raiders’ head coach for the entirety of Mabe’s career, said as one chapter closes, another one looks bright.
“What a career Ayden had: three-time participant in the regional, and all-conference as a senior. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Parsons closed. “And Kevin, as a ninth-grader, has a great career ahead of him.”
Note: Official 4A Mideast regional results were not available from the NCHSAA at the time of publication. Head coach Keith Parsons reported Richmond’s scores.