Thanks to a pair of hot-shooting seniors, John Laycock's debut as the Loudoun County High School golf coach couldn't have been better.
Raiders Billy Hurley and Kenny Roseberry shot 73 and 74, respectively, to lead Loudoun County to a three-shot victory over second-place Loudoun Valley in a Northwestern District mini-tournament at Shenandoah Golf Club in Front Royal Thursday.
All eight teams in the newly configured Northwestern District participated in the season opener, and only 18 strokes separated the team winner and last-place finisher.
Following Loudoun County's 312 and Loudoun Valley's 315 were new Northwestern District entrants Potomac Falls (316) and Park View (318). Host Warren County had 322 with Handley, Broad Run and Liberty rounding out the scoring, with 323, 329 and 330, respectively.
The same teams will play another district mini-tournament Thursday at Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville at 10 a.m.
"You never know where you're going to stand when you start [the season], but we played very well," Loudoun County's Laycock said.
Loudoun Valley Coach Gary McKay was pleased with his team's second-place finish, led by senior Michael Masters and junior Joel Bodine, with 76 and 77, respectively. McKay was even more impressed with the play of the district as a whole.
"Everyone was talking about how it's really unbelievable for this kind of [competitive] play this early in the season," McKay said.
Fourteen players broke 80 on the par-71, 6,330-yard course. Hurley shot 34-39--73 for medalist honors, while Roseberry double-bogeyed the first hole but shot 37-37--74 for the individual runner-up spot.
"Billy has been a rock solid for four years," Laycock said of Hurley. "And he really showed some leadership with the other players on the team today."
Hurley's younger brother, freshman Danny Hurley, shot an 85, and junior Jake Leasky shot an 80 for the Raiders.
Potomac Falls's Ryan Patrick, David Guinter and Will Mook all broke 80 with 77, 78 and 79, respectively.
With defending Northwestern District and Group AA champion Sherando now playing in the AAA Commonwealth, the district title is up for grabs.
"If we get too high from this, we know we could be brought back real quick when the [scores] are this close," Laycock said.