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DRAPER –– Galax golf coach Terry Snow probably got a pretty good idea of how stout his team could be after a scrimmage last week netted a team score of 1-under par.
Monday’s events have only fueled his optimism.
The Maroon Tide turned in a solid four-man team score of 295 to win the Draper Valley Prep Classic, a 15-team season-opening event held at the 6,414-yard par-72 Draper Valley Golf Club.
“We played pretty well today,” said Snow. “We had some respectable scores against some pretty good competition.”
Galax’s winning score topped second-place Richlands by seven strokes and was nine shots better than Mountain Empire District newcomer Graham, a team that could pose a serious threat to the Tide’s run of 10 straight MED championships. Lord Botetourt, touted as the team to beat in Timesland in a newspaper story Monday morning, tied for third with the G-Men.
Christiansburg (324) was fifth, followed by Virginia High (325), Holston (333), Chilhowie (350), Tazewell (352), Northwood (363), Pulaski County (364), Carroll County (402), Patrick Henry (412) and Fort Chiswell (420).
Last week’s sub-par practice round – which included matching 68s by John Bryant and Eddie Hanks plus a 69 from Jon Alouf ––was nice, but seeing his 2011 team come in five shots better than the score posted on the same Draper course by last year’s state championship team, Snow felt that Monday’s showing carried more weight.
“[The scrimmage] was at Blue Ridge and traditionally we play pretty well there, but I believe that today was a better measuring stick,” he said, “because there were five or six really tough teams down there today. A 295 is only two strokes off the record for that tournament. Blacksburg shot a 203 last year and they’ve got two boys going to play at Division I schools.”
Bluefield, W.Va. didn’t field enough players to post a team score but the Beavers did take home the medalist’s trophy as Evan Smith fired a 2-under-par 70, the lowest individual score ever in the six-year history of the event. Galax’s Matthew Downey and Graham’s Ben Taylor tied for second, one stroke back.
“Matthew played a steady round. He was having a good time out there today,” Snow said. “He’s a senior. He’s been through the wars. We’ve won two state championships in the last three years and came in second in the other one, and he’s been there the entire time.”
The Maroon Tide’s John Bryant carded a 74, good for a three-way tie for ninth. Bryant found the sand twice in the day, both times with the ball coming to rest near the lip of the trap.
“All he could do was chunk it out,” Snow said. “Other than that he had a solid round. His 74 could easily have been a 70.”
Ben Hill and Eddie Hanks each shot 75 for Galax.
“Ben’s improved tremendously the past year,” Snow said. “He’s gotten a lot more confidence in his stroke and he makes all his putts. It’s very seldom Ben misses one of those 3- or 4-foot putts. And that’s where you score.
“Eddie’s a gamer. He was coming off 15 today and it looked like he was going to be about 5-over. I said, ‘Eddie, you going to turn me in a 77?’ He said, ‘I’ll do better than that,’ and he birdied the last two holes.”
Austin Horton shot an 89 and Halyard Burton turned in a 90 to lead Carroll County, which hosts the Southwest District teams today (Wednesday) at Olde Mill.
2011 Draper Valley Prep Classic
Monday at Draper Valley Golf Club
par 72, 6,412 yards
1. Galax (Gx) 295
Matthew Downey 71, John Bryant 74, Ben Hill 75, Eddie Hanks 75.
2. Richlands (R) 302
Barrett Cunningham 72, Zack Luttrell 76, Dylan Sawyers 76, Jared McGaffee 78.
T3. Graham (Gr) 304
Ben Taylor 71, Morgan Brewster 73, Zack Toohey 79, Brad Yost 81.
T3. Lord Botetourt (LB) 304
Justin Nichols 73, Ben Matthias 74, Austin Broyles 78, Lyndsey Hunnell 79.
5. Christiansburg (Cb) 324
Matt Moschella 75, Jude Cochran 82, Luke Weaver 82, Jordan Alderman 85.
6. Virginia High (V) 325
Ryan Hyatt 74, Taylor Hall 77, Zack Dean 85, David Maples 89.
7. Holston (H) 333
Aaron Deel 75, Conrad Thacker 76, Peyton Garrett 83, Wes Roberts 99.
8. Chilhowie (Ch) 350
Connor Hayden 73, Dustin Creasey 89, Jeb Sturgill 93, Aaron Dunford 95.
9. Tazewell (T) 352
Blake Hash 77, Colin Hancock 84, Ryan Lark 89, Luke Robinson 102.
10. Northwood (N) 363
Austin Robbins 80, Dylan Jones 91, Chaz Jones 95, Zack Keith 97.
11. Pulaski County (PC) 364
Carter Brookman 72, Gavin Hanks 91, Matt Martin 96, Andrew Whitt 105
12. Carroll County (CC) 402
Austin Horton 89, Halyard Burton 90, Adam Burnett 108, Morgan Ayers 115.
13. Patrick Henry (PH) 412
Skylar Williams 92, Seth Garrett 98, Michael Buchanan 106, Levi Debord 116.
14. Fort Chiswell (FC) 420
Josh Quesenberry 98, Willie Dalton 99, Jacob Odum 110, Seth Dalton 113.
15. Bluefield, W.Va. (B) no team score
Evan Smith 70, David Woodrum 86, Aaron Miller 95.
Individual top 10
1. Evan Smith (B)70
T2 Matthew Downey (Gx)71
T2 Ben Taylor (Gr)71
T4 Carter Brookman (PC)72
T4 Barrett Cunningham (R)73
T6 Morgan Brewster (Gr)73
T6 Connor Hayden (Ch)73
T6 Justin Nichols (LB)73
T9 Ryan Hyatt (V)74
T9 John Bryant (Gx)74
T9 Ben Matthias (LB)74