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72nd VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship

July 3, 2024

Championship website | Scoring | Preview | Record book

Dates: Monday, July 8 - Wednesday, July 10

Format: Three rounds of stroke play, with play beginning off No. 1 and 10 at 8 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Note, the nines will be flipped for this event, with Hole 10 serving as Hole 1 and Hole 1 serving as Hole 10. The field will be cut to the low 45 players and ties for Wednesday's third and final round. Play will begin at 8 a.m. off No. 1.

Host site: The Federal Club

Day 3: Early eagle helps Goboy secure victory

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By Chris Lang

GLEN ALLEN -- First-hole jitters or first-hole adrenaline? For Chesapeake's Xander Goboy, the latter was definitely true on Wednesday at The Federal Club.

Holding a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the 72nd Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship, Goboy sank a long, gentle eagle putt on the first hole to push his lead to five and never looked back. Goboy's lead never dipped below four strokes after that, and his three-day aggregate total of 6-under 71-68-71--210 was enough to secure a four-stroke victory.

Goboy, who will begin his college career at North Carolina State later this summer, won his first individual VSGA championship and earned an exemption in the U.S. Junior Amateur, which will take place July 22-27 at Oakland Hills in Michigan.

Goboy finished four strokes clear of Leesburg's Vaughn McMeans, who birdied the final three holes to get to 2-under overall after posting a three-day aggregate total of 71-75-68--214. McMeans, who is headed for George Mason University, closed his first round in similar fashion, posting three birdies and an eagle in his final four holes.

McMeans' finish at least gave Goboy something to think about. Blacksburg's Jake Albert, who started the day three shots back, never could get going and looked visibly frustrated in shooting a 2-over 74, leaving him alone in fourth with a three-day aggregate total of even-par 216 (75-67-74). Broadlands' Benjamin Baker finished in third at 1-under 215 (73-70-72).


  • See below for a video interview with Goboy.
  • Goboy's lead ballooned to eight strokes at one point, but he struggled a bit down the stretch, making four bogeys on the back nine. But birdies at 16 and 18 were enough to counter those and keep him in the lead. On 18, he blasted a drive down the right side, leaving him 180 yards in on the par-5 finishing hole. He hit his approach to about 15 feet and two-putted for a closing birdie.
  • McMeans was the 16-18 age-group winner, as the overall winner does not receive and age-group prize. Richmond's Ben Cowgill was the 15-and-under group winner. Cowgill finished sixth overall with a 2-over 218, shooting 74-71-73.
  • Cowgill joined a number of players who are exempt into next year's Junior Stroke Play Championship. Additionally, any player finishing inside the top 20 (and ties) who is still eligible to compete will be exempt next year as well.
  • McMeans was the only player to shoot better than 71 on Wednesday. 
  • This was the second straight year that the Junior Stroke Play was decided by four strokes. Preston Burton won by the same margin last year at Birdwood Golf at Boar's Head Resort.

Day 2: Goboy fires 68, nabs three-shot lead


(Leader Xander Goboy. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

Photo gallery

By Chris Lang

GLEN ALLEN -- N.C. State-bound Xander Goboy of Chesapeake fired a 4-under 68 in the second round of the 72nd Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday at The Federal Club to move three strokes clear of the field heading into Wednesday's third and final round.

Goboy sits at 5-under 139 after posting rounds of 71 and 68. He leads Blacksburg's Jake Albert by three shots after Albert rallied from his first-round 75 to shoot a 5-under 67 on Tuesday to get back into the mix.

Three players are tied for third at 1-under 143: Roanoke's Nate Faulkner, Broadlands' Benjamin Baker, and Moseley's Liam Maclauchlan.

The field was cut to the low 45 players following Tuesday's round. Play starts on Wednesday off No. 1 at 8 a.m., with the final group featuring Goboy, Albert, and Faulkner set to tee off at 10:20 a.m.


  • Heat again was a major storyline on Tuesday. By the end of play, temperatures had reached 97 degrees with a heat index of 106. Don't expect much improvement on Wednesday, with temperatures expect to again reach the mid-90s by the end of play.
  • With the nines reversed at The Federal Club this week, the traditional stretch of holes 1-6 -- known as one of the toughest stretches in Virginia championship golf -- became holes 10-15. Both Goboy and Albert navigated those holes at under par, with Goboy playing it at 2-under and Albert at 1-under. It's a big reason they stand 1-2 on the leaderboard.
  • Goboy finished his first round on Monday with a bogey on No. 18 after chunking his drive. He finished his Tuesday round with a birdie thanks to a nice up-and-down from a greenside bunker, leaving him a 2-foot putt for four on the par-5 hole.
  • Albert played the back nine at 6-over on Monday, and afterward said it was one of the worst nine-hole stretches of his career. He played that same nine at 1-under on Tuesday. For the championship, Albert is 7-under on the front nine with seven birdies, and eagle, and two bogeys.
  • First-round co-leaders Ryan Leach of Williamsburg and Finn Watson of Arlington struggled on Tuesday. Leach shot a 4-over 76 (four bogeys, 14 pars) to fall into a tie for seventh with six others at 2-over, seven shots off the lead. Watson shot a 5-over 77, with much of the damage coming late in the round, when he went 6-over on his final five holes (two double bogeys, two bogeys). 
  • Two of the field's younger players shook off tough first rounds to comfortably make the cut. John Carlin, 14, followed his opening-round 81 with a 3-under 69. Ryan Hooker, who at 12 is the youngest player in the field, rallied from a first-round 80 to post a 3-under 69 as well.


  • "On the front nine, I had a couple of bad breaks. I hit a good shot on the second hole and it spun off the green like 30 feet, so that kind of sucked. Then on hole 8, I hit it too well and it went way over the green. But other than that, I felt like I made the most of the opportunities I got. My game off the tee was better than yesterday, and my approach shots were so much better." -- Goboy
  • "I feel like you've got to keep yourself in the fairway. I had wedges in on a lot of the holes, so I felt like I was taking advantage of a lot of the longer holes with my distance." -- Goboy on the stretch from 10-15
  • "Jake's a great player, giving myself as much cushion as possible is always a good thing. I'm excited for what's to come tomorrow." -- Goboy
  • "Just go out there and take it shot by shot, not get too ahead of myself, and just have some fun." -- Goboy on his final-round approach
  • "Obviously, it would mean a lot, especially since I've been playing in these VSGA events since I was like 7. It would be pretty big." -- Goboy on what winning would mean
  • "On that back nine (Monday), I just couldn't hit a straight shot. I couldn't hit a green. So I shot 6-over. ... Today on the back, I just told myself to play smart and not do anything I did yesterday. I hit 3-wood of a couple of tees and hit iron off 18 tee instead of driver. I was just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I could." -- Albert
  • "They can put the pins in a lot of tough spots (on 10-15), and they'll probably do that tomorrow." -- Albert
  • "This round helped today, a little momentum for tomorrow." -- Albert

Day 1: Leach, Watson share 18-hole lead

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(Co-leaders Ryan Leach, left, and Finn Watson. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

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By Chris Lang

GLEN ALLEN -- Williamsburg's Ryan Leach and Arlington's Finn Watson each posted rounds of 2-under-par 70 on Monday at The Federal Club and share the 18-hole lead at the 72nd Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship. 

Leach, who is playing his final season of junior golf before heading to West Virginia University, finished with four birdies and two bogeys. Finn, a rising junior at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, shook off a double bogey at No. 12 and finished with birdies on 16 and 18 to get to the clubhouse in red numbers.

Three players finished one stroke off the first-round lead after posting rounds of 1-under 71: Chesapeake's Xander Goboy, Galax's Grayden Laird, and Leesburg's Vaughn McMeans. Six players were tied at even-par 72, two strokes off the lead.

The event continues on Tuesday, and the field will be cut to the low 45 players and ties for Wednesday's third and final round.


  • Leach clearly did his homework before the event, noting in a post-round interview that the last time the Junior Stroke Play was held at The Federal Club (in 2016), a West Virginia-bound golfer won (Kurtis Grant).
  • McMeans, who is headed to George Mason next season, rescued a middling round with an outstanding finish, going birdie-birdie-eagle on his final three holes to get into red numbers.
  • Laird also made a run at the end to get into red numbers, making birdie on his final three holes.
  • Goboy was in position to join the group at 2-under but finished with a bogey on 18 after hitting a poor drive.
  • The top-ranked AJGA junior in the field, Blacksburg's Jake Albert, battled through a difficult back nine and enters Tuesday's second round in a tie for 23rd after shooting a 3-over 75. Albert was 2-under at the turn but made four bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine.
  • The nines at The Federal Club have been reversed for this championship, with No. 10 playing as No. 1 and No. 1 playing as No. 10. That allows for players to finish closer to the clubhouse and scoring area.
  • The mid-afternoon temperature was 92 degrees with the heat index making it feel more like 101.


  • "It was hard. I started off 3-under through four holes, then the next 13 holes I just didn't play well. I think I shot 3-over. I played well on the par 5s. But besides that, this place is tough. You've got to hit your irons well and chip it well. The greens were rolling nice, though." -- Watson
  • "On 16, it was just a stock hit the green in two and make a two putt. Then on 18, I was in the trees, then I hit a little punch-out 7-iron to 115, then hit it to 10 feet and made the putt. So pretty stock birdies there." -- Watson
  • "I was kind of mad after the double, but I was able to bring it back." -- Watson
  • "It's a second-shot course. It's all about keeping the ball in play and attacking with the irons and wedges and playing well on the par 5s. That's how you shoot a good score here." -- Watson
  • "It's just preparing yourself mentally before the round. You know it's going to be long, you know it's going to be hot. You have to keep drinking, keep eating. Finding shade when you can -- there's not much shade out here. You just have to try to keep focus, not get too high or too low, and conserve energy on the first day of a three-day tournament. -- Leach on dealing with the hot conditions while walking.
  • "It was solid. First day of a three-day stroke-play tournament, so I'm not trying to get too far out in front of my skis and just stick to the game plan. I just rolled in some putts and was able to turn those into some birdies. I didn't make many bogeys -- that was kind of the name of the game today -- and I was just kind of able to execute." -- Leach
  • "It's big. I've been around the top but I've never been able to get it done. There's a lot more on the line this year with some of the exemptions you get if you win. ... It would mean a lot, especially with going off to college in a few weeks. I want to take some momentum from this into college and hopefully crack the lineup." -- Leach