The Halifax County Middle School golf team got five scores under 50 for the second time in a row in the young season Monday, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Playing in Franklin County, host Ben Franklin Middle School edged the Lions 172-175, with Patrick County Middle School finishing third at 183 and Martinsville Middle School posting no team score.

“Franklin County is always a tough team, and our kids fought to the end,” said Lions head coach Charles Payne.

“We got off to a slow start having a few bad holes early, but I was so proud of the way we finished. Our last three to four holes were awesome. Our players knew we were a little behind and turned it on with a good solid effort.”

The Lions carded five rounds under 50, with J.D. Cunningham leading the Lions with a round of 40. Alex Payne (42), Jack Morgan (45) and Peyton Murray (48) followed in order.

C.J. DeGraw came in with a round of 49, and Grady Upchurch carded a round of 51. Their scores did not count toward the Lions team total as only the four best scores are counted.

“Our goal is to have at least four kids under 50 for each match this year, and we are doing that,” noted Lions assistant coach David Graham.

“Our second goal is improvement around the greens, and we will continue to work on this. We hit some really good shots but were not sharp around the greens. I believe our kids understand the importance of a good short game now, and our practices will be more productive.”

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