Third time a charm?

A year after a gratifying fourth-place finish at the Virginia AAA state tournament, Osbourn Park dominated the competition last season but stumbled to an eighth-place finish at states. Senior Daniel Kefale is among the top players in the state, but to win a state team title, the Yellow Jackets must have steady improvement and consistency out of their next three golfers: senior Mike Braun and juniors Alan MacMullin and Max Brouse.

New Kids

New Haymarket school Battlefield is close to several courses, such as next-door neighbor Dominion Valley, so Coach John Tillman said he believes he has inherited a wealth of talent. The Bobcats are led by junior Stephen Spaulding, a transfer from Stonewall Jackson who shot a 78 on the first day of last week's Quantico Invitational. Battlefield has also shown some early success with a 31/2-21/2 record so far. The county's other new school, however, is off to a rocky start. Freedom has had problems getting enough players to try out and has yet to compete as a team in a match.

Cardinal Ruler?

Forest Park senior Brad Howard is arguably the top golfer in the district, and with junior Tory Whibley right behind him, the Bruins appear to be the Cardinal front-runner. First-year coach Babette Overman said she considers herself lucky to coach in such a talent-rich area. While other district schools must pursue potential golfers, the Bruins have enough participants to take three teams to some matches. "I think you are going to see Forest Park become a really strong golf school," Overman.

Kicking and Swinging

Gar-Field Coach Michelle McDonald is also the girls' soccer coach at the school. So when McDonald discovered she didn't have enough golfers this season, she made her pitch to the students she knew best. "I started calling everyone I could from the soccer team," McDonald said. "I said, 'Hey, you are a good athlete, why don't you come and try golf?' " Among the soccer players who answered the call is starting midfielder Mary Carol Davis, and McDonald hopes to hone the team's skills to build a supporting cast around the Indians top golfer, sophomore Josh Sale.

-- WILL TOUSSAINT