High school golf at inner city school Raleigh Broughton comes with a bit of added pressure since alumni include PGA Tour star Webb Simpson and former two-time Ryder Cup player Scott Hoch, along with nine state championships for the school off of St. Mary’s Street.
The Purple and Gold has also watched another Triangle-area school – Green Hope – steal the 4-A spotlight for the better part of the last decade after Broughton won six team titles from 1998-2004.
Sure, Broughton had a great regular season in the Cap-8 Conference and successful regional showing, but many wondered how the Capitals would cope at the 2012 state championships on difficult Pinehurst No. 8, with a team that includes four freshmen, one sophomore and one senior.
“There is no question Webb (Simpson) set another standard for us,” said Broughton coach Anderson Marlowe. “There was already a lot of history here and a lot of our kids’ parents went to Broughton. There is extra pressure, but these kids started at 6 and 8 years old playing tournament golf and by the time they get here they’ve done it a few times.”
Whether it was a team that was “tournament tested” or just too young to realize the pressure of the moment, Broughton bolted to a 12-shot lead on the first day of the state tournament, then hung on to defeat Southern Pines Pinecrest by three shots for the school’s 10th state golf championship.
Stephen Saleeby became the second straight ninth-grader to win the individual title, following East Chapel Hill’s Ben Griffin, shooting 67-73 to finish 4-under over 36 holes, beating Pinecrest freshman Joshua Martin by two shots.
Saleeby has some good golfing bloodlines. His cousins, Julie Saleeby and Joanna Saleeby, played college golf at N.C .State, and Julie captured the 4-A individual crown playing for Broughton in 2005.
“I was amazed by Ben’s win last year and I could only dream it could happen to me,” said Stephen Saleeby, who fired a back-nine 31 on the first day of competition with birdies on five of his final seven holes to take command.
Saleeby sealed his state title with a birdie on the 17th hole in his second round as local favorite Martin managed to put some heat on with a closing 69.
“I just tried to play smart and bring it home,” he said. “We’re going to be a school to look out for over the next four years. It will competitive, fun and exciting.”
How competitive? Well, a contingent of upperclassmen followed their team throughout the competition and one player joked about the highlight of his Broughton career.
“I tied for medalist honors once – in practice,” he said, laughing.
The coaching staff, including Marlowe’s fellow volunteer sidekick Steve Smith, said six different golfers all logged time as the team’s No. 1 player, including freshman Harrison Rhoades, the star of the second day of the state tournament with a bogey-free 68. Rhoades lost a playoff and tied for fourth at even-par 144.
“The four freshmen are all so close to each other and push each other during practice,” Rhoades said. “We’ve all played so much golf together that it’s a lot of fun.”
Another young gun for Broughton is Will Minton, who tied for 23rd with rounds of 73-78. His father, Wes Minton, won the state golf championship in 1974 as Broughton won three straight from 1972-74.
“We didn’t know they were going to be a ‘Dream Team,” but we knew they could all play,” Marlowe said of his young squad. “Plus, we had one solid senior that you’ve got to have for leadership in George Kilgore. He has played great for us for three years now. We knew throwing him in there we would have a solid six. Whenever you have 1-through-6, and anyone of them can be your low man that day, you’ve got a good team.
“We have all of those banners are in the gym and we’re excited to hang one more up there,” he added. “Broughton is as well known for its golf than any sport. It’s an inner city school, which is harder sometimes to pull it off. But these guys play a lot of tournament golf so that’s why they can handle the pressure.”
The Broughton players normally log practice rounds and compete at Raleigh Country Club and Carolina Country Club.
“Raleigh Country Club is a very difficult course and it has been a super tract for these kids to learn on,” Marlowe said.
Marlowe is in the construction business, while Smith is in insurance.
“We just like being around these kids,” Marlowe said. “Steve and I are both still amateur players, so it makes it even more fun to go out and play with them. It’s an excuse for me to get out on the golf course.”
Meanwhile, Griffin, who has grown eight inches over the last 18 months and added some length to his game, got off to a poor start with an opening-round 77 before closing with a 1-under 71, which was good for a tie for 10th.
“I had 35 putts in my first round and that never helps,” Griffin said. “I guess what I need to do is hit the putting green for about six hours.
“It has been a lot of fun this past year; I’ve enjoyed being the 4-A state champion. It has been awesome and I’ve played pretty well this year. It was great coming back out here and having a lot of people pull for me.”
On the team side, Green Hope placed sixth, 28 shots off the winning pace of Broughton, while Clayton was 10th and Raleigh Millbrook 11th.