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East Surry golf team receives State Championship rings

East Surry’s golf team was recognized as back-to-back 2A State Champions during a Sept. 1 football game against West Stokes.

The Cardinals repeated as state champions on May 15-16. The team’s four state qualifiers — Connor Key, Jace Goldbach, Anderson Badgett and Pennson Badgett — combined for score of 588 strokes at Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Southern Pines, which was 44 strokes better than the state runner-up.

“We were the most experienced team there, and that experience was our big advantage over the teams that finished below us,” East Surry coach Darrin Haywood said following the 2023 2A State Championship victory. “That state championship experience is invaluable and made such a difference for us this year. We had strong performances top to bottom, and I can’t say enough how proud I am of these guys. They all stepped up.

“Things didn’t always go our way, but they were able to leave any problems at that hole and move on.”

The 2023 title was East Surry’s eighth in school history — the most of any athletic program at the school.

East Surry first won the 1A/2A State Title in 1988, then won the 1A Title in 1999 and four-peated in the 1A division from 2005-08. The Cardinals captured their first 2A State Championship in 2022, then repeated as 2A State Champs in 2023.

East Surry’s team score of 588 set a new school record for the lowest score at a state championship match. The record previously belonged to the 2007 championship team with a score of 589.

In addition to winning the team title, Cardinal freshman Pennson Badgett won the Individual 2A State Championship with a score of 140, or 4-under par. He was the only golfer at the championship match to shoot under par both days.

“He’s definitely not your typical freshman,” Haywood said of Pennson. “When a 15-year-old goes out and plays like Pennson did it’s special. He’s not experienced in high school golf, but is a very knowledgeable and experienced golfer that is extremely dedicated to his craft. He’s played in a lot of tournaments in his life, and from this point until the end of the fall he’ll be playing in a lot more.”

Pennson’s individual state championship is the fifth in East Surry history and the first in the 2A Division.

Key also won individual hardware by tying for 2A State Runner-up. Key shot 141, or 3-under par, at the championship match.



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