The Greenbrier High School golf team was supposed to be back in action last week. The Wolfpack was ready hit long drives and sink short putts during their match Tuesday at Rocky Branch Golf Course.
Everything changed when Wolfpack golfers Shane Williams and Daniel Hall were killed in an automobile accident minutes before play was set to begin at the Lincoln County course.
Brothers Matthew and Michael Barman also were injured in the wreck. The four Greenbrier teammates were traveling to a high school tri-match against Thomson and Lincoln County.
The tragedy occurred exactly one mile from the parking lot at Rocky Branch.
Now, for the rest of the Pack, completing the 2003 season is going to seem like a million-mile journey.
Attending funerals and visiting injured friends in the hospital render the game of golf mundane. Actually picking up a club and concentrating on the course will be another challenge for the heartbroken squad.
"It's going to be very hard. Both Daniel and Shane were very well thought of," Greenbrier athletic director Mickey Derrick said. "With the Lord's help, we'll get through it."
After the accident, Greenbrier did not compete Tuesday, and the team also canceled its Thursday match against the Academy of Richmond County, which was scheduled to be played at Rocky Branch.
The Pack will be back in action Monday against Glenn Hills, but Greenbrier is trying to find a different course to stage the match.
It's still too soon to return to Rocky Branch, which would require the players to drive past the accident site.
Initially, Greenbrier's entire golf season was in doubt. The six remaining team members gathered Tuesday night, and Wolfpack coach Clint Woodfin asked them to vote on whether to continue or cancel the rest of the 2003 campaign.
The Pack chose to play.
"I think that's what Daniel and Shane would have wanted," Derrick said. "They were big team players, and they would have wanted this golf team to carry on and do the best they could."
Before the accident, Greenbrier was starting to build momentum for the season's stretch run. Winning the Region 3-AAAA tournament next month wasn't out of the question.
The Wolfpack was excited about their prospects, and golf in general. Shane was particularly pumped up after watching fellow left-hander Mike Weir win the Masters Tournament.
Shane and Daniel are gone now, but their dreams will live on in the heart of their Greenbrier teammates.
"The golf team is definitely playing for more than pride at this point," Derrick said. "Every time they tee it up from here on out, they'll be thinking of these young men."
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