The final six holes Dominion junior Sara Hurwitch played at the Virginia AA champion at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on Tuesday were a good demonstration of the cool and accuracy she maintained at the two-day tournament.
Showing a quick smile to shrug off adversity, Hurwitch held her own despite several challenging situations before eventually losing a sudden-death playoff and finishing sixth.
"I try not to let the small things get to me," Hurwitch said. "You've got to have a strong mental game to go with your golf game because it's going to be tough out there."
Hurwitch finished with a 154 and in a tie with Virginia High's Daniels Triplett, who won the playoff. Western Albemarle's Cory Amory won the individual title with 146 as the Warriors also claimed the team championship with 618. Salem's Fielding Brewbaker (150) was second after he beat Western Albemarle's Chris Ray in a playoff.
On perhaps the most demanding course she had to play this season, Hurwitch fared well. On some of the holes at the par-72 course, Hurwitch got little help from the placement of the ladies' tees, yet that seemed to have little effect on her ability to stay near the top of the leader board.
She posted identical 77s on each day -- a pair of 39s on the front nine and 38s on the back. Hurwitch was the Dulles District and Region II champion.
"I really wanted to play well this season and get to this point," Hurwitch said. "I'm happy with what I did."
On the par-4 16th, Hurwitch's second shot landed on the green well short of the pin. But she converted a tough two-putt to save par. On the next hole, Hurwitch's drive went to the right, ending up on a cart path. But her next shot from 170 yards landed within eight feet of the hole, and she sank the putt for a hard-earned birdie.
On the second hole of sudden death, played at No. 17, Hurwitch's drive landed in the rough, and her second shot sailed over the green. But her difficult third shot, over a bunker from about 25 yards, landed squarely on the green about four feet from the hole.
The playoff ended on the third hole of sudden death, after Triplett made birdie.
"She's just so solid," Loudoun Valley Coach Gary McKay said of Hurwitch. "She's certainly stepped up to play. She proved that she's everything everyone says she is. The Dulles District is very proud of what she has done."
Loudoun Valley senior Nick Kelley captured 19th with a total of 160 (77-83), and teammate Danny Bosse was 32nd with a 165 (79-86). Both put up strong rounds on Monday, when there was a stiffer breeze and less favorable conditions.
Kelley overcame a rocky start -- a double bogey, a triple bogey and a bogey over the first three holes -- to finish the first day in sixth place.
"Nick got off to a rough start, but he really came back and played well," McKay said. "And for Danny to play like he did as just a sophomore is very encouraging. He did a great job."