The Halifax County Middle School golf team had made up some ground on Junior Piedmont District leader Ben Franklin Middle School in a recent district round at Green’s Folly Golf Course, but lost ground in Monday’s nine-hole round at Willow Creek Country Club in Franklin County.

Halifax County Middle School played well, with five of the eight designated players from whom the four best scores would count posting rounds under 50. But it wasn’t quite enough as Ben Franklin Middle School won the nine-hole contest 161-170 to extend its lead in the chase for the Junior Piedmont District regular-season championship.

“The team played very well with five out of our top eight players scoring under 50,” remarked Lions head coach Charles Payne.

“Franklin County is always tough, especially at home, and the match came down to the last two groups of the day. Right now it is the short game that our team needs to improve on just a little more to overtake Franklin County. We will focus a lot the rest of this and next week on getting prepared for the District 6 match at Martinsville.”

J.D. Cunningham led the Lions’ effort with a round of 40. Alex Payne followed with a round of 41, Jack Morgan came in with a round of 43 and C.J. DeGraw’s round of 46 was the final score to be counted toward the Lions’ team total.

Other players competing for the Lions and their scores included Peyton Murray (47), Neyland Wallace (48), Grady Upchurch (50), Landon Jones (56) and Michael Brafford (56).

Payne said the players are beginning to show more consistency.

“We are beginning to play more consistent, and several other players are beginning to put some good numbers on the scoreboard,” Payne pointed out.

“We played better mentally, making fewer mistakes around the greens. Our team attitude was very positive throughout the day, as all our players grinded out every shot.”

Patrick County Middle School finished third in Monday’s round with a 190 total. Martinsville Middle School rounded out the four-team field with a 270 total.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at