Loudoun Valley's Michael Masters and Loudoun County's Billy Hurley responded to golf's pressures in very different ways in the Region II high school tournament at Greene Hills Golf Club Tuesday afternoon.
But the result was the same: Masters and Hurley--as well as Hurley's Raiders teammate Kenny Roseberry, who shot a 74--advanced to the Class AA state tournament Monday and Tuesday in Williamsburg.
Masters played his best golf ever and captured medalist honors with a 1-under-par 70 on the 5,937-yard course, while Hurley, the Northwestern District's best golfer during the regular season, shot a disappointing 76 but sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a four-player playoff to slip into next week's 36-hole state championship. "From the second or third hole, I could tell I was hitting the ball the straightest I've ever hit it," said Masters, a senior. "I was going OB [out-of-bounds] on the eighth [hole], but it hit a tree and bounced in, then I knew I was in for a good round."
Masters easily could have shot 68 or better--he missed a makable birdie putt then three-putted No. 14 and lipped out a 35-foot birdie attempt on the 16th hole. "This is something that Michael has been working hard for for a long time," said Vikings Coach Gary McKay. "And for him to go out and shoot that score under this kind of pressure is really special."
While Masters shot a great round and knew he had qualified, Hurley, who was the low individual in last week's district tournament, had to wait three hours before starting the playoff.
Hurley played in the day's first group and was disappointed with his round.
"When I walked off [after shooting 38-38], I knew [the score] would be close [to qualifying]," said Hurley, who was joined by Liberty freshman A.J. Krick, Louisa's Bo Stockton and Fort Defiance's Kansas Gooden in the shootout for the final two individual spots.
On the playoff hole, No. 10, a 409-yard par-4, Hurley hit first, calmly drove 265 yards and hit a nice iron shot below and to the right of the hole, then sank the birdie putt, pumped his fist and walked over to his bag and bent over in relief.
"I've been in playoffs before," Hurley said. "But never one that I wanted so bad like this, to qualify for state in my senior year. I just wanted to put smooth swings on the ball."
Despite the individual performances, neither the Vikings nor the Raiders advanced into next week's team competition. Monticello and Western Albemarle, both from the Jefferson District, shot 310 and 311, respectively, to advance.
Overall, Loudoun Valley finished with 315, while Loudoun County shot a 323. "We shot our best score of the year," Loudoun Valley's McKay said. "We just didn't get enough scores in the seventies."
Liberty's Krick, who was playing in the day's last threesome, lipped out a par putt on 18 that would have sent him to Williamsburg and bogeyed the second playoff hole, while Stockton made par.