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Carolina boys battle at Haas Family Invitational

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By Carly Groshon, AJGA Communications

It’s a course that’s seen some of golf’s greatest athletes, and this week, two North Carolina teenagers added themselves to that list as they compete for local bragging rights at the Haas Family Invitational on the Donald Ross Course at Sedgefield Country Club.

Ryan Gerard of Raleigh and Parker Gillam of Cary are no strangers. With just six miles separating their high schools, it’s safe to say they’ve walked the same turf a time or two—but this week, it’s different.

Gerard and Gillam are battling it out in their first AJGA tournament at Sedgefield. Both players call it an honor to play on such a prestigious course.

“I really like the course, really like the layout, really like the style of golf. The Donald Ross courses are always interesting and challenging, but they’re also very fun and scorable if you play well, so I’m looking forward to it,” Gerard said.

Gillam calls Sedgefield one of his favorite North Carolina courses to play on, but even with familiarity on his side, the Wake Forest University commit can’t deny the difficulty of its mean greens.

“I want to play a little more aggressive,” Gillam said after shooting 2-over-par 72 in Tuesday’s opening round. “I held back a little today because I knew some of the hole locations were tough, so I kind of just wanted to play it safe. But tomorrow I’m going to go for a couple more pins, try to make a couple more birdies.”

Gerard has also welcomed the challenge of the Wyndham Championship course. The UNC-Chapel Hill commit said competing on the same grounds as TOUR players makes this week all the more special.

“You get to kind of compare yourself to the best players in the world, even if they’re not there that week,” Gerard said.

And while both acknowledge that 18 trials from tee to green that lie ahead, the Carolina players are soaking up their moment in the Sedgefield sun.

“Being from North Carolina, I’ve been keeping an eye out for this tournament for many years. It’s always been a goal of mine to get here,” Gerard said.