Heritage Coach Rich Pell is not terribly surprised that junior Greg Brouse has become one of the top golfers in the Dulles District, based on the amount of work Brouse puts into golf.

"What impresses me most about Greg is his work ethic," Pell said. "Throughout the year, through the winter, Greg is putting in the time to become better. That's what makes him such a strong player."

Brouse was an All-Extra selection last fall after finishing fifth in the Dulles District and best among district golfers at the Region II championships. After even more work on his game between last season and this, Brouse is poised to stay among the leaders in the district this year, competing against standouts such as Sara Hurwitch of Dominion and Ryan White and Nick Kelley of Loudoun Valley.

At the Cheers Sports mini-tournament Wednesday at Algonkian Regional Golf Course, Brouse shot a 1-over-par 73 to tie for third place. He had five birdies; struggles with his putting hurt his score. The day before in a dual meet, Brouse shot a 69.

"I feel like I'm playing well right now," Brouse said. "I had five birdies, so my score should have been much lower. That's something I can work on."

Brouse said he works on his game almost every day. When he's not playing competitively, Brouse tries to find some time to hone his skills.

"If I'm not playing, then I try to hit a couple of buckets of balls at the very least," Brouse said. "I play with my dad a lot -- he got me into golf when I was 12. . . . The amount you put into it, it pays off in how you do on the golf course."

This summer, Brouse excelled in several tournaments. He beat three higher-seeded players to make the semifinals of the prestigious Bobby Bowers Memorial Junior Golf Tournament. Brouse finished third at the Shenandoah Valley Junior Open, won the Raider Open and was 13th at the Virginia junior amateur championships.

Brouse credits his emergence to an improvement of his mental game, thanks in large part to the coaching of Mark Guttenberg, a golf instructor from Aldie.

"I used to get down on myself after a bad shot," Brouse said. "What I'm trying to do now is shake it off and look to the next shot. . . . The mental game is very important."

With the high school season already underway, Brouse is aiming to make his mark in the Dulles District and in Region II. At the region tournament last year, he shot a 77 and missed qualifying for the Virginia AA tournament by one stroke.

This year, Brouse hopes to contend for the championships at both the district and region meet, and he is aiming to be among the top 10 in the state.

"I want to have a season average around par," Brouse said. "I really think I can play very well this year."

Heritage's Greg Brouse uses every inch of his frame, to good effect: He was fifth in the Dulles District, fourth in Region II tournaments last year as a sophomore. "The amount you put into it, it pays off in how you do on the golf course," he said. Loudoun Valley senior Ryan White, right, was the Dulles District golf champion last year. He may have some competition from teammate Zach Kendall, left, this year; Kendall shot a career-best 66 to win the Cheers Sports mini-tournament at Algonkian Regional.