Chris Brugge is the third-seeded golfer on the Langley team. He finished fourth in the Liberty District tournament. But with a new belly putter that arrived just four days ago in his bag, the slender sophomore won the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament by two strokes on Tuesday.
Brugge did not need the putter on the first hole, chipping in from 30 feet for birdie, but he felt comfortable putting and shot a four-over par 74-74 — 148 on the Oaks Course at Twin Lakes in Clifton.
“He’s a tough competitor and plays extremely well under pressure,” said Langley Coach Al Berg, who had three players in the top five as the Saxons won the team title as well. “You see him. He weighs like 115 pounds.”
Edric Wung, Will Byrne and Matt DiSalvo all also shot in the 70s Tuesday, helping Langley finish with a two-day total of 605 to win the team title by 12 strokes over Chantilly. Both teams advanced to the Virginia AAA tournament next week at Laurel Hill Golf Course in Lorton.
Brugge, who is 5 feet 8, did not even finish the regional tournament last season. After shooting an opening-round 90, Berg substituted for him in the second round, not wanting to hurt Brugge’s confidence. Brugge then rebounded to shoot 74-78 — 152 and tie for 30th in the state tourney.
This year was a much different story. Not satisfied with his putting, Brugge late last month ordered a belly putter. It arrived prior to Saturday’s practice round at Twin Lakes, when he used it for the first time. He needed just 25 putts in Monday’s opening round, taking a two-stroke lead that he did not relinquish.
“My other putter wasn’t releasing good and I wasn’t making a lot of putts,” Brugge said. “I couldn’t try out a lefty belly, they don’t really have it anywhere. But I’d heard they were easy to use.”
Tyler Spears of Lee finished second at 150. There was a three-way tie for third, with Chantilly’s Steve Aanstoos beating Centreville’s Keon Ho Song and Wung in a playoff that finished in near darkness. Byrne, Jefferson’s Julie Luo and Chantilly’s Juhee Bae tied for sixth at 152.