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On his third trip to the state tournament in three years, Eastern Randolph senior Connor Carter finished second.

ER golfer is second in state tournament

PINEHURST — The beginning of last week was a very busy time for Eastern Randolph senior golfer Connor Carter. 


Carter, who qualified for the NCHSAA state tournament for the third straight year, became an uncle after completing his first round of play at Pinehurst No. 6 Monday, went to Greensboro to meet his new niece that night, then returned for his second round of action Tuesday morning.


Overall, things went very well as he finished second in the state 1-A tournament for the second straight year, finishing with rounds of 70 and 77 for a two-day total of 147, three-over-par. 


“I feel honored,” said Carter, who will play golf next season for Catawba College. “It’s a great accomplishment. Nothing to hold my head down about. It hurts a little because I was second, but it was a fun week.”


While Carter certainly impressed with his showing, Mitchell High School’s Connor Warren simply had a tournament for the ages. The defending champion fired a 65 his first round for a five-shot lead heading into the second round, where he then carded a 68 for an 11-under-par 133 total, the second lowest score in NCHSAA state tournament history.


The only player to shoot a lower score was current PGA Tour professional J.T. Poston, who shot a 131 at Foxfire in 2011.


After being part of a team vying for a state title as Carter was a member of the Eastern Randolph High School varsity basketball team that played for a state championship this past winter, Carter began play Monday looking for an individual title. And it couldn’t have started any better as he birdied five of his first six holes. 


Then he had to figure out how to play the remaining 12 holes.


“I felt real good starting on the back nine,” Carter said. “I was thinking I could go out and play it safe and go after pars or get a little aggressive. Then on a par-3, I put myself in a bad spot and doubled.”


Carter finished the first day with a 33 on the back-9.


Then Carter ran into a problem and it had nothing to do with drives, putts or approach shots.


“I was in the first group and we went out at 7:30 a.m. and the last group was going out at 9:40 a.m., so we had to sit around and wait 40 minutes,” Carter said. “Waiting 40 minutes is pretty bad. The concern you have when you sit around in a golf cart or on a patio for 45 minutes is you don’t want to get tight.”


Carter finished with a 1-over-par on the front nine to finish with a 70 the first day, two-under par.


Carter said he entered Tuesday's final round with no worries.


“I really wasn’t worried, my dad has always told me it’s not about what they do but what you do,” Carter said. “I had to focus on myself. It’s good to be competitive and win, but all you can do sometimes is shake his hand.”


Carter, who was not teamed with Warren, had a three-over on the front nine Tuesday and then finished with a two-over-par on the back nine to finish at 77. His total was still four shots better than South Stanly’s Reid Smith, who placed third.


Carter, who placed 16th as a sophomore and second his junior and senior seasons, said he used lessons learned from ER basketball coach Johnny Thomas when going for the golf title.


“He taught us about winning and I felt a whole different way about winning,” Carter said. “After the state championship game, even though we lost, he said how proud he was of us.”


The same that people are feeling about Carter after the state golf tournament.