Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gastonia's Varner Has His Breakthrough Moment

In his junior year at East Carolina, Gastonia's Harold Varner III has been chasing his first collegiate individual championship for a while.

He's looked at teammates who've won tournaments and knew his game could match theirs but Varner didn't have his own trophy.

Until now.

Varner set an East Carolina record this week when he won the Old Dominion-Outer Banks Intercollegiate golf championship at Kilmarlic Golf Club, shooting 20-under par 196 over 54 holes. Varner had rounds of 65-66-66 to lead the Pirates to a 23-stroke team victory as well.

"It was awesome," Varner said of his first individual victory. "It's nice to get that first one so I can start working on the second one."

Varner has been working with his teacher, Bruce Sudderth, on a couple of swing tweaks and they kicked in on the Outer Banks. Varner said he has been practicing two drills to help him keep the clubhead in front of him rather than allowing it to get caught behind him.

When it all came together, Varner poured it on.

"I was looking at a lot of putts going in," Varner said. "I played one stretch from near the end of the first round through the start of the second round 9-under par for nine holes. When you look at people who win, they have a stretch like that where they don't miss."

Varner and the Pirates are finished with their fall schedule but will return to competition in January.