Braden Hammond and Kollin Hopwood have a friendly rivalry on the golf course.
But the Elkins High School teammates share the same goal - to get back to the state tournament.
"It was a great experience playing in states last year," Hammond said. "We have a young team this year but I think we can do it again."
The Inter-Mountain photos by Joey Kittle
Elkins High’s Braden Hammond tees off on the No. 3 hole at the Elks Course during a match against Philip Barbour on Thursday. Hammond fired a 71 to earn low-medalist honors.
Kollin Hopwood watches his shot during Elkins’ match against Philip Barbour Thursday at the Elks Course. Hopwood, the lone senior on the team, finished with a 78 as the Tigers earned a win over the Colts.
As the season has quickly neared the midway point, Hammond and Hopwood have done their part to make the Tigers a contender to win the Big 10 Conference title and make another run at a berth in Wheeling in early October.
"I've been blessed to have two consistent players like Braden and Kollin," Elkins coach Dave Baird said. "They make each other better players and root for one another on the course."
Baird said the duo also make his job easier in practices.
"They're like assistant coaches for me," he said. "They help the younger players out and give me another set of eyes in practice."
Hammond, a junior, and Hopwood, a senior, both turned in solid rounds during Thursday's matchup against Philip Barbour at the Elks Course.
Hammond earned low-medalist honors by shooting a 73, while Hopwood tallied a 78.
"They have both been shooting in the 70s when we play 18 holes and in the 30s in nine-hole matches," Baird said.
The Tigers avenged a loss to the Colts earlier in the week at the Barbour County Country Club with Thursday's 327-344 win.
"I'm hitting the ball really well right now," said Hammond, who shot a 71 against the Colts on Tuesday. "My short game needs a little work right now but that will come once school starts and we have more practice days."
Kole Hopwood added an 85 for the Tigers, while Brendan Cain shot a 91, Joseph Severino a 100 and Greyson Teets a 106.
"Our younger players are coming around," Hammond said. "Before the season ends and when we get into postseason play, I think their scores will start coming down."
Luke Freeman carded a 79 to lead Philip Barbour, while Logan Collins added an 82, Caleb Hawkins an 89, Tyler Clifton a 94, Trace Furby a 100 and Jacob Nestor a 104.
Elkins will remain home at 4 p.m. Monday against Big 10 foes Fairmont Senior and Preston, while Philip Barbour will entertain East Fairmont at the same time.