Georgetown Prep senior Brendan Peel’s body language on the back nine on Wednesday at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club reflected the frustrations of a decorated golfer struggling on the biggest stage of the season.
His drives didn’t land where he wanted and holed putts rarely earned even the slightest smile from the newly crowned Interstate Athletic Conference individual champion.
But with his ball in the bunker on the 17th hole at Wednesday’s Washington Private Schools Championship, Peel used his 58-degree wedge to blast onto the green and set up his first birdie on the back nine. Another birdie on 18 sealed his final score of 74 and helped the Little Hoyas claim a second straight championship.
Prep used sophomore Davis Lamb’s 73 — the day’s lowest score — and Mike Jones’s 75 to fend off IAC rival Landon by 11 strokes, 383-394, just nine days after the Bears beat the Little Hoyas in the IAC championship.
“I didn’t hit it as well as I would have liked today,” Peel said. “I had a lot of putts that could have gone in but didn’t. That was frustrating, but I knew if I stayed patient, I would be fine.”
Peel’s comfort in the sand comes from his home course, which features a bunker on a par-5 eerily similar to No. 17 at Chantilly National.
Lamb stayed consistent throughout the day as he carded pars with only a pair of bogeys. His lone birdie came on the par-4 15th when his second shot from the fairway landed 10 feet from the hole to set up his birdie putt.
“I stayed in there, and I didn’t get angry or frustrated on my front nine,” Lamb said. “I didn’t make any big mistakes. I just kept the ball on the fairway, and I did my best not to hit it anywhere where it would put me in trouble.”
An emergency appendectomy kept Jones out of the May 5 IAC championship, but his 75 in Wednesday’s first group gave his team and his coach a jolt of confidence. His 74 at last year’s championship tied for the lowest score.
“I’m thrilled beyond belief,” Prep Coach Bob Barry said after spending the entire back nine in the clubhouse to cope with his nerves. “When Michael came in I was ecstatic because it put him in the driver’s seat. The guys needed to feed off that, they needed to know.”
Landon was paced by Brent Bubes who had a 77. Good Counsel (401), which finished third, was led by Gavin Rickert’s 74, and Paul VI placed fourth (404).