PINEHURST — A productive day on the course led to a top-three finish for the Richmond Raider golf team during Tuesday’s final regular-season match.
Playing at Pinehurst No. 6, the Raiders finished third out of the six qualifying Sandhills Athletic Conference teams, the second time this season taking that spot.
Finishing with a team score of 403, tying Richmond’s second lowest-mark in an 18-hole match this spring, the Raiders also had two golfers qualify for regionals.
Senior Ayden Mabe, a four-year veteran, and freshman Kevin Tabacolde both hit their way to a spot in next week’s 4A Mideast regional tournament. The pair finished with nine-hole averages of 41.6 and 42.6, respectively, this spring.
Mabe, who also serves as the Raiders’ captain, was named to the All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team. It was his first career selection, finishing in the top 12 of individual average scores throughout the season.
Richmond also recognized its five senior golfers on senior night. This year’s graduating class was made up of Mabe, along with first-year golfers Jullian Cline, Tyson Holloway, Walker Lambeth and Jeffery Linton.
Pinecrest High School, which has led in the SAC standings all season, captured the SAC title with a team score of 292. Hudson Griffin led the field with a 70 (-2) on the George and Tom Fazio designed course.
Lee County High School (364) finished second, and Richmond was followed by Scotland (404), Union Pines (406) and Southern Lee (410) high schools.
“Kind of interesting after the match – everyone was down a bit because no one seemed all that happy with his score,” head coach Keith Parsons said. “And then when they were totaled, we ended up third, only the second time we have finished that high this season. That shows how difficult conditions were yesterday and how much everyone in our group has improved this season. It was a great way to finish the regular season.
“We’re so happy for Ayden and Kevin. Both qualified for the regionals, which are great accomplishments,” he added. “This will be Ayden’s third time in the regional, and he didn’t have the opportunity as a Ninth Grader since our season was canceled that year before it even started because of COVID. That is very impressive.
“And Kevin, in his first year with our program, really has stood out with his play. Playing in the environment of the regional will be so good for his development.”
Mabe, coming off consecutive outings with personal-low scores, led the Raiders with a 92 on Tuesday. He shot a 50 on the front nine before heating up with a 42 after the turn.
Tabacolde also impressed with a 92, just five strokes over his personal best round from last week at Whispering Pines. On the day, Tabacolde was even with a 47 on the front and back nine.
Capping their senior seasons by contributing to the overall team score were Lambeth (106) and Cline (111).
Lambeth’s score was a new 18-hole best, as he posted a 54 on the opening nine holes and closed with a 52. Cline shot a 55 to start, ending with a 56 on the back.
Freshman James Pack (114) and Holloway (126) competed for Richmond as well. Pack wrapped up his first season with a pair of 57s, and Holloway, a Brown University football signee, shot 63s on both sides of the turn.
“Ayden making all-conference is so fitting,” Parsons closed, “He has had a great senior year, on and off the course. His leadership has been invaluable to me and his teammates, and I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”
Mabe and Tabacolde will compete in the 4A Mideast regional tournament next Monday, May 8, at Pinehurst No. 6.