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Golfers tee off season today

The fall sports season officially starts today with the Halifax County High School and Halifax County Middle School golf teams launching their respective seasons.

Halifax County High School opens its season with the annual Heritage High School Invitational Golf Tournament, which begins today at 10 a.m. at London Downs Country Club in Lynchburg.

The Comets, who will have two matches this week, will face Randolph-Henry High School here Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Green’s Folly Golf Course.

Halifax County Middle School is jumping right into the fire with today’s season opener, as it will face Bluestone Middle School at 2 p.m. at Green’s Folly Golf Course in what will be the team’s Southside Middle School Conference opener.

One of the good things going in the favor of the golf program at the two schools is the numbers. Halifax County Middle School Head Coach Charlie Payne, who is also assisting Comets Head Coach David Graham, said more than 50 players have come out for spots on the teams at the two schools.

“We have a lot of talent in that group,” Payne said, “more than we have ever had. How far they go will depend on how hard they work.”

The largest group of players rests with the Halifax County Middle School golf team. Payne has 35 players out for the Lions golf team, and says he is pleased with the talent level.

“The group of eight-graders has enough talent,” Payne said.

“This group can be as good as any team I’ve had, but they’ve got to work hard in order to succeed so that we can say this again at the end of the season.”

The Lions coach said the seventh-graders on this year’s team have improved a great deal. He called his group of sixth-graders “the most solid group of sixth-graders I’ve ever had.”

Payne has a good deal of experience within his Lions golf team, with a good handful of players that were either consistent starters or participants in a majority of last year’s matches returning this season.

Among that group of players is Matt Ratliff, Jamie Binner, Caleb Cole, Paul Edmunds, Luke Newbill and Lance Chappell. 

A player Payne said has made very good progress is Cassidy Irby.

“She’s probably the most improved player thus far this season,” Payne remarked.

“We have several other players that are close in ability to this group.”

The target team score Payne says he wants to see his team hit in all of its matches this season is 180.

“I’ll take a 180 total all year,” he said.

In addition to having a good group of talented players, the Halifax County Middle School team’s schedule is situated in its favor.

Six of the team’s nine scheduled matches will be played here at Green’s Folly Golf Course. Those six matches are all scheduled in succession at the top of the schedule, with the team’s last regular-season home match scheduled for Sept. 5.

Payne said he has no problems with the top-heavy home schedule.

“It’s okay,” he said.

“Regardless of where we play, if the kids don’t work hard and continue to improve, we’re going to beat. It all comes down to how hard they want to work.”