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DRAPER –– One of the more interesting and therefore gut-wrenching aspects of watching high school golf is that, even with iPhones and Androids and Blackberries whizzing scores back and forth between onlookers scattered all over the course, nobody really knows what’s what until the ol’ Sharpie starts squeaking on the posterboard.
Even then it’s not always concrete.
In the latter hours of Wednesday’s Region C golf tournament at Draper Valley, Galax saw its fortunes go from 1) needing to charge into contention to 2) a surprising team lead to 3) needing a par on the final hole from its No. 6 player – and getting a beauty of a birdie instead, to 4) seeing its season come to an end.
In the end James River posted a four-man total of 316 and ended Galax’s three-year run as the region’s team champion. The Knights were joined by runner-up Giles (322) as qualifiers for next week’s Group A tournament in Big Stone Gap.
Galax, winner of the last two state championships and three of the past four, will not get a chance to defend its title. The Maroon Tide (326) was four shots back in third, followed by Glenvar (330), Holston (334), Graham (341), Northwood (342) and Parry McCluer (358).
“I thought we had a chance,” said Galax coach Terry Snow. “We’ve played better, but we’ve played worse, too. It is what it is.”
James River’s Korey Watts rode a blistering start to a 3-under par 69 and the individual championship. Watts was 5-under through 12 holes before cooling off, and finished just ahead of Floyd County’s Amanda Hollandsworth (70). John Bryant of Galax was third with a 72 and will advance as an individual to the state tournament. Giles teammates Gunnar Frazier and Kory Wilson were fourth and fifth with a 73 and 74, respectively.
Caleb Pack was second among Galax golfers with his 82 while Nick Sage and Chase Garvey each shot 86.
James River was perceived as having run away with the team title until the 102 of the Knights’ No. 3 man was posted, putting Galax into a theoretical and quite surprising lead. But No. 5 man Hunter Thompson came through with a huge 79 for the Knights, all but settling the team race.
“We were in the lead there for a while but everybody still had three golfers on the course,” Snow said. “You don’t expect a 79 out of their No. 5 kid, but it happens.”
Galax and Giles were within a stroke of one another with only the No. 6 players to go, and the Maroon Tide needed a par from Garvey to hold off the Spartans for the runner-up spot. With virtually the entire field looking on around the 18th green, Garvey coolly knocked in a birdie putt from some 25 feet away. But by that time, it was discovered that a tournament official had mistaken a 4 on the card of Giles’ Jacob Hudson for a 9, inadvertently adding five strokes to the Spartans’ team score.
Hudson’s score was confirmed as a 4 by playing partner Dominic DiGiacomo of Galax, and with the error rectified, the Spartans lived to play another week.
“We’ve been region champions three years in a row, but we do get to take an individual to state,” Snow said. “John Bryant gets to go, and he’s one of the premier players in the state. Maybe he can go down there and bring home a championship.”
Region C championship
Wednesday, Draper Valley G.C.
1. x James River – 316
2. x Giles – 322
3. Galax – 326
y John Bryant36-36–72
4. Glenvar – 330
y Austin Fox38-37–75
5. Holston – 334
y Conrad Thacker41-37–78
y Peyton Garrett40-39–79
6. Graham – 341
7. Northwood – 342
y Austin Robbins39-38–77
8. Parry McCluer – 358
y Amanda Hollandsworth, Floyd35-35–70
y Graham Dillon, G.Wythe38-41–79
Jacob Vaughan, Grayson Co.43-38–81
Alex Corvin, Chilhowie40-42–82
Aaron Dunford, Chilhowie39-44–83
Cole Davis, Grayson Co.41-43–84
Tyler Price, Radford43-41–84
Anthony Miano, Radford42-43–85
Randall Hale, Floyd44-42–86
Brandon Hartman, Floyd47-40–87
Tyler Botkin, Highland43-46–89
Tucker Phipps, Grayson Co.45-44–89
Andy Robinson, R.Retreat43-46–89
Morgan Cox, Floyd44-46–90
Matthew Foster, Chilhowie46-44–90
Willie Dalton, Ft.Chiswell45-47–92
Aaron Boswell, Covington44-50–94
Jacob Odum, Ft.Chiswell48-46–94
Josh Bush, Covington46-51–97
Hank Choate, Grayson Co.52-49–101
Chris Clarke, G.Wythe52-55–107
Clay Robertson, Bath Co.54-56–110
Josh Chestnut, Bath Co.59-54–113
Travis Warlitner, Bath Co.58-59–117
x – advances as team to Group A state tournament
y – advances as individual to Group A state tournament