The boys and girls golf teams of Pierce County Middle School are officially back-to-back Southeast Georgia Middle School Conference Champions.
The teams’ journey began February 23 with a victory over Long Middle. The boys shot a team total 171 to Long Middle 270. The girls shot an 87 and Long Middle 140.
“In the beginning of the season, we grind four days a week— Monday through Thursday — and as the season progresses, we start having matches while practicing on the days in-between,” said Coach Shannon Batten.
“Nothing fancy, just old fashioned ‘fundamentals’ and repetitions, plus playing as many holes as possible each day,” the coach added.
From there, the PCMS girls and boys were unstoppable.
February 27 brought wins against Brantley and Waycross.
The boys shot a team total 160 to Brantley Middle 257. Waycross shot 206 with three players.
The girls shot an 88 and Waycross 108. Brantley shot 65 but only had one player.
The PCMS boys and girls came out on top against Bethune and Ware Middle in a match that was played March 2.
The boys shot a team total 163 to Bethune Middle 275 and Ware Middle 268.
The girls shot a 91, Bethune Middle 147 and Ware Middle 159.
March 6 saw PCMS win matches against Arthur Williams and Martha Puckett.
The boys shot a team total 174 to Arthur Williams 242 and Ware Middle 266.
The Girls shot 83, Arthur Williams 114 and Martha Puckett 116.
Three days later (Mar. 9) the Bears traveled to Pine Forest and brought home more wins against Arthur Williams, Martha Puckett, and Appling Middle.
The boys shot a team total 169 to Arthur Williams 241, Martha Puckett 228, and Appling 307.
The girls shot 99, Arthur Williams 122 and Martha Puckett 117 and Appling 121.
March 14 Bacon and Appling fell to PCMS at Blueberry Plantation in Alma.
The boys shot a team total 172 to Appling 307 and Bacon 312.
The girls shot a team total 94 to Appling 137 and Bacon 162.
The seventh match of the season came March 16 and with it more wins against Appling and Ware at Lakeview Golf Course.
The boys shot a team total 176 to Appling 274 and Ware 266.
The girls shot a team total 87 to Appling 126 and Ware 154.
The regular season finale took place Saturday, March 25 at The Lakes at Laura S. Walker State Park, where PCMS squared off against teams from Brantley and Bethune Middle School.
The boys shot a team total 173 to Brantley 257 and Bethune 269.
The girls shot a team total 90 to Bethune 124 and Brantley 56 but had only one golfer.
March 23, the Bears and Lady Bears hosted the championship game at Lakeview Golf Course.
By day’s end, the team was free to celebrate a completely undefeated regular season and their fifth consecutive year of bringing home two conference championship wins.
The Lady Bears Golfers shot a team score of 90 to win and take the conference championship by 12 strokes over Martha Puckett girls and the rest of the field.
Mollie Kate Dixon and Brooke Dixon shot 45 each, Avery Crews 47 and Stryker Bowen with lowest score of the season with a 52.
The Bears Golfers shot a team score 156 to win by 64 strokes over Arthur Williams boys and the rest of the field.
The Bears were led by Hardt Strickland who shot a round of 37 and claimed low medalist honors, while Justin Smith and Bennett Puryear shot 38 each, Barrett Moore shot 43, Griffin Hull 45 and Beau Strickland 47.
“(I’m) so proud of all my golfers on both teams. They all worked extremely hard all season and kept grinding to another championship,” said Coach Batten. “Early birds get the worm, but early Bears get the honey!”
Coach Batten expressed thanks to community members, parents and all workers who made hosting the conference championship possible.
Batten also thanked parent volunteers and previous coaches who assisted with the logistics of warm-ups and all those who helped shuttle players and keeping the matches moving in a timely manner.
Special thanks was given to Bobby Buie and J.L. Smith, who served as rules officials at the golf championship.
“It has been fun working with this group and I hope whoever coaches them at the high school level will take them to the next level and win multiple state championships. Go Bears!” said Coach Batten.
Between 1995 and 2022 the golf program at PCMS has brought home 17 Boys championship wins.
Girls’ golf began at PCMS in 2000 and over the past 23 seasons, the Lady Bears brought home 12 championship wins.