Bryson Boyette, lining up a putt during the 49th annual North Carolina Junior Boys' Championship at Wilson Country Club on July 14, 2016, has been named to the East team for the Tar Heel Cup, to be held in May at River Landing near Wallace. Tom Ham | Times
By Tom Ham
Senior Staff Writer
Springboarded by a sensational summer, Bryson Boyette expects to be in the hunt for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A boys golf individual championship next May in his senior season at Fike High.
Regardless, Boyette will not be representing Fike or Wilson County high school golf for the final time.
He claims the distinction of being the first Wilson County golfer to be selected for the Tar Heel Cup, which will be staged for the second time late next May at River Landing near Wallace.
Boyette, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career at Barton College, has accepted the invitation of East head coach Cliff Dillard, the head golf coach at New Bern High.
“It ranks up there in my book,” said Boyette of the honor. “It’s kind of special. There are only 12 people (six boys and six girls) on the team.”
The East and West teams will each consist of six male and six female golfers as well as two male and two female alternates. As one of the six chosen, Boyette is assured of being in the lineup for the two days of competition via a Ryder Cup format.
Dillard noted he has watched Boyette play each of the last two years and is well aware of his summer accomplishments. The veteran coach describes Boyette, coached by Glenn Jones, as a “truly fine player” and as one of the top 3-A golfers in the East.
Indeed, Boyette emerged the 3-A Big East Conference Player of the Year each of his sophomore and junior seasons. In his first appearance in the NCHSAA 3-A championship tournament last May, he finished tied with five others for 34th place.
Boyette owns a Wilson County Championship at the high school level and earned the male medalist accolade in the Wilson County Junior Golf Championship last summer. Also during the summer, Boyette finished third in the Coastal Plains Junior Amateur, tied for third in the Dogwood State Junior, placed fourth in the Tarheel Youth Golf Association State Championship and deadlocked for the 27th spot among 264 entrants in the Optimist World Championship.
He possesses a career low round of 64 at Happy Valley Country Club, his home course.
Dillard noted a practice round is scheduled for Friday, May 19.
The competition is set for Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21.
Saturday’s schedule consists of nine holes of best ball and nine holes of alternating shot competition.
Individual 18-hole matches are planned for Sunday. Dillard added the alternates get to play but their results will not count toward the final result.
Phil Panzarella of 2-A Croatan is the East head girls coach.
The West prevailed in the 2016 inaugural and Dillard pointed out the outcome was decidedly influenced by the West’s superiority in the girls division.
Dillard explains the North Carolina High School Golf Coaches Association established the Tar Heel Cup as golf’s version of the East-West All-Star contests.
Boyette managed a chuckle but admitted he was surprised to learn he will be paired with a female golfer for the best-ball and alternating-shot segments.
“That’s all right,” he responded. “I am looking forward to it; that’s going to be fun. Maybe I will get some wedges and short irons in my hands.”
Yet, Boyette pledges to play his game.
“I’m OK with it,” he said. “I’ll go with whatever is dealt me. But if she is chosen for the team, she’ll be a pretty good player.”
The Fike senior not only is honored and appreciative of the opportunity, but considers it important.
“I had somewhat heard about (the Tar Heel Cup) but I didn’t know much about it,” Boyette expressed. “It’s important to me to be able to represent Fike and Wilson one more time as a high school golfer.
“I will approach it like any other golf tournament. I will go in serious and wanting to win and help the team out as much as I can. It’s a good chance to go out on a high note.”