MIDLOTHIAN –– Central Virginia’s based Mills E. Godwin High School shot an final day event-best score of even-par 288 to post a six stroke comeback victory as the 7th Virginia State Golf Association Foundation High School Invitational concluded today at Independence Golf Club.
Godwin finished with a 7-over 583 aggregate to pick up their first title in the event. Fredericksburg-based Riverbend High School returned a last-day total of 3-over 291 (13-over 589) and placed second. First day leader Chantilly High School, the 2012 champions, claimed third after closing with 10-over 298 (15-over 591).
Godwin began the final round two strokes off Chantilly’s lead, but had three players deliver rounds of 73 or better, led by junior Mark Lawrence Jr., who closed with 4-under 68 and paced the Eagles with a two-day aggregate of 4-under 140. Lawrence played a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 2-8 in five under par en route to firing 4-under 32 on the outward half. Three of his four birdies came inside four feet. His longest make on the front nine was a 12-footer at the par-3 seventh hole.
Lawrence had plenty of support on the final day. Seniors Curt Kennedy (2-under 70) and Brian Hill (73) as well as junior Colten Grow (77) contributed scores in the five-count-four format.
The event annually brings together the premier programs from the top divisions throughout the commonwealth. In three of the six years the championship has been conducted leading up to this year, the team champion has gone on to win the Virginia High School League Group AAA title.
“We really wanted to play well and we played incredibly today. It’s pretty awesome,” Lawrence said. With their triumph, the Eagles were presented the Richard V. Smith Trophy, honoring the longtime former VSGA director of rules and competitions who has been at the forefront of championing junior golf initiatives. “It gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. It’s a good boost of confidence knowing that we can compete with everybody.”
Godwin owned a six-stroke lead following the first round of last year’s event, before Chantilly rallied to win by one stroke. At last fall’s VHSL Group AAA Championship, Godwin bested Chantilly by five shots to claim the state title.
“That’s something that was a bur in the saddle a little bit, so they wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. It was sort of like payback for last year,” said Tom Hoy, Godwin’s golf coach for the past 33-plus years. Godwin, a Division 5 program, and Chantilly, which is in Division 6, won’t meet at this year’s state tournament because of a separation of divisions. “There was pressure on them all over the place. You can’t simulate that in any other way but to play in something like this. This will be the statewide competition you could see.”
Hoy estimated that it was the first time in program history that the team returned an even par aggregate in an 18-hole competition. Lawrence, consistently Godwin’s top performer, was in the anchor position in the last group of four.
“Coach told us from the beginning of the day, ‘Your mindset is: Beat everybody in your [grouping] and we’ll win the tournament,’ ” Lawrence said. “I got on a roll, knew I was playing well and just tried to keep playing solidly the rest of the day.”
In fourth place following the opening round, Riverbend improved its first day score by seven strokes to climb up the leaderboard. Senior Michael Mead carded a final round score of 5-under 67 (2-under 142) and equaled the low round of the championship, matching Chantilly’s Connor Messick’s day-one total. He played bogey-free with five birdies and shot three under par on the inward nine. Also for Riverbend, senior Devon Oeters (73), junior Sameer Qader (74) and senior Andrew Mueller (74) contributed scores on the last day.
“We obviously know that Chantilly is going to be very good,” Mead said. “Hopefully we can muscle up and get past them.”
Chantilly had three players return scores of 73 or better on the last day, led by senior Ju Hee Bae (71—146). Fellow seniors Mike Sciorra (72) and Messick (73) as well as Ben McGrath (79) also contributed scores. Messick paced the Chargers in the two-day competition, compiling a 4-under 140 aggregate.
Despite being laden with juniors and seniors, Chantilly knows there’s plenty of fierce competition waiting throughout the commonwealth.
“The state is talented—Riverbend, South County, Mills Godwin—you look at the second-day scores and you see that there is a huge amount of talent in the state,” said Chantilly coach Kurt Sporkmann. “It just means that when you walk away from here and head back to your driving range and courses and your practices have to be more focused and intense.
“If you have a goal to get to the state and place in the state, you have to have stronger practices. You have to work harder. You have to be more focused. Every swing matters through this whole process. There’s talent. It’s going to be tough. There’s no walk-in-the park. No matter how much experience you have, you go and you have to work.”
Trevor Tremps, a senior at Jamestown High School and Shannon Brooks, a junior at Chantilly High School, registered 36-hole aggregates of 6-under 138 to take home individual medalist accolades in the boys’ and girls’ categories, respectively. Both competitors logged consecutive rounds of 3-under 69.
Tremps birdied three of his last four holes as his putter caught fire in the late going. He drained putts of 25 and 20 feet at Nos. 15 and 17, respectively, and holed a 10-footer at the last. Tremps won the club championship last week at Williamsburg National Golf Club and his strong play continues.
Brooks, meanwhile, played bogey-free with three birdies. She earned low-girl accolades for a fourth straight tournament.
“I’m definitely more confident,” Brooks said. “I’m also happy because more of my scores are under par.”
Both the low boy and low girl will have their names engraved on the Dr. Jack Frable Trophy. The chairperson of the event, Dr. Frable is a longtime friend of the VSGA Foundation and a supporter of the High School Invitational.
Individually, among the competitors not with their full team, Thomas Fricke of Battlefield High School shot 5-over 149 (75-74), while Daniel Yoo of Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies was second among the players at 7-over 151 (73-78).
ABOUT THE VSGA FOUNDATION AND INDEPENDENCE GOLF CLUB: Independence Golf Club, owned by the VSGA Foundation, features a 22,000-square-foot clubhouse, an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship course and a nine-hole Sawyer Short Course. In addition, the club includes a separate junior clubhouse with dormitories and junior clubhouses for campers. The VSGA Foundation continues to champion junior golf initiatives, particularly those that benefit at-risk children. The Robins Junior Program camps and clinics not only teach fundamentals of the game, but also empowering life lessons.
The programs are named in honor of Richmond-based philanthropist E. Claiborne Robins Jr. for his many efforts on behalf of junior golf. Thousands of youths have gone through the camps and clinics over the past 10-plus years.
MIDLOTHIAN –– Results following the final round of the 7th VSGA Foundation High School Invitational at Independence Golf Club (6,677 yards, par 36-36—72 for boys and 5,665 yards, par 36-36—72 for girls) on Wednesday, Aug. 21. The best four of five scores count toward the team’s aggregate.
Mills E. Godwin High School: 295-288—583
Mark Lawrence Jr., 72-68—140; Brian Hill, 73-73—146; Curt Kennedy, 77-70—147; Colten Grow, 73-77—150; Chris Powell, 80-80—160
Riverbend High School: 298-291—589
Michael Mead, 75-67—142; Sameer Qader, 74-74—148; Andrew Mueller, 76-77—153; Devon Oeters, 81-73—154; Jake Miles, 73-83—156
Chantilly High School: 293-298—591
Connor Messick, 67-73—140; Ju Hee Bae, 75-71—146; Mike Sciorra, 78-72—150; Vishal Giri, 73-82—155; Ben McGrath, 79; Noah Tucker, 84
South County Secondary School: 305-292—597
David Rabil, 74-68—142; Ashley Dingman, 76-74—150; Adam Bacon, 77-72—152; David Ross, 78-76—154; Robert Fox, 87-83—170
James Madison High School: 297-301—598
Shannon Brooks, 69-69—138; Joel Choi, 73-77—150; Won Suk Rhee, 77-76—153; Amber Liu, 78-79—157; Siena Ferrick, 82; Sam Kase, 83
Jamestown High School: 299-300—599
Trevor Tremps, 69-69—138; Christina Herbert, 79-69—148; Matt Meadows, 73-82—155; Emily Salamy, 78-80—158; Dan Kelly, 88-82—170
Langley High School: 303-298—601
Edric Wung, 75-72—147; Brandon Berry, 70-80—150; Jake McSteen, 77-74—151; Justin Nguyen, 81-76—157; Will Tobola, 76; Stephen Bonacci, 81
St.Christopher’s School: 319-297—616
Austin Fockler, 76-68—144; Coleman Andrews, 79-78—157; Trey Romig, 84-76—160; Noah O’Neill, 89-75—164; Boyd Peete, 80-86—166
Deep Run High School: 314-310—624
Joey Jordan, 79-75—154; Danny Pedrazzi, 76-78—154; Adam Hade, 82-74—156; Will Babcock, 77-83—160; Kyle Morgan, 84; Christian Fagan, 99
James River High School: 315-310—625
Jacob Carter,77-75—152; Ben Reid, 74-78—152;Guy Cheatham, 84-77—161; Josh Kirby, 80-83—163; Patrick Baly, 80; Matt Reynolds, 85
The Collegiate School: 325-310—625
Brenton Hayward, 75-78—153; Rives Flemming, 82-77—159; Ryan McGloin, 86-75—161; Caroline Curtis, 83-80—163; Ashe Allende, 85-86—171
Matoaca High School: 315-312—627
Matthew Padgett, 80-75—155; Bret Lockett, 80-77—157; Samuel Smith, 78-80—158; Peyton Broach, 77-82—159; Paul Harris, 80; Davis Topping, 82
Cosby High School: 310-319—629
Sterling Simmons III, 76-74—150; Ford Zehner, 77-80—157; J.D. Seal, 76-84—160; Rob Witherspoon, 81-82—163; Chase Ginther, 83; McKoy Lamantia, 85
Powhatan High School: 313-321—634
Nick Furbee, 75-75—150; Luke Hill, 74-79—153; Noah Bradshaw, 76-91—167; Ryan Brinkley, 89-82—171; Andrew Llewellyn, 88-85—173
Western Albemarle High School: 326-315—641
Hunter Weis, 75-69—144; Kyle Landis, 78-75—153; Tyler Mahone, 86-84—170; Joe Squillace, 89-87—176; Jake Thompson, 87-93—180
Woodberry Forest School: 318-324—642
Thomas Mack, 78-75—153; Bo Pettigrew, 76-79—155; Rob Prater, 80-83—163; Bo Sheridan, 84-94—178; Edward Miller, 94-87—181
Centreville High School: 322-323—645
Yoojin Kim, 75-71—146; Jenny Cho, 82-82—164; Jae Jun, 81-87—168; Drew Brickwedde, 86-83—169; Janhan Sattarzadeh, 84-94—178
Woodbridge High School: 322-328—650
Adam Szwed, 73-71—144; Austin Hurlbrink, 81-82—163; Eric Gum, 81-83—164; Tyler Deen, 87-92—179; Kevin Mitchell, 97-106—203
Loudoun Valley High School: 339-313—652
Ian Hildebrand, 71-70—141; Brandon Weaver, 78-75—153; Mike Shouse, 101-80—181; Max Case, 93-88—181; Noah White, 97-95—192
King George High School: 331-344—675
Devin Drake, 72-89—161; Michael Hundley, 84-82—166; Colton Southall, 86-85—171; Andrew Berry, 89-87—176; Joseph Bentz., 92-104—196
Thomas Dale High School: 368-357—725
Kemper Elder, 89-84—173; Daniel White, 92-87—179; Ryder Elder, 94-91—185; Tommi Sopanen, 93-95—188; Tommy Barron, 94-100—194
INDIVIDUALS COMPETING IN THE VSGA FOUNDATION HIGH SCHOOL INVITATIONAL
Thomas Fricke (Battlefield High School), 75-74—149
Daniel Yoo (Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies), 73-78—151
Fitz Woodrow (St. Anne’s Belfield School), 78-76—154
Ruby Rim (Fairfax High School), 80-74—154