He hasn't yet experienced his first day as a high school student, but Forest Park freshman Joe Buttgereit showed last week at the William Marshall Quantico High School Golf Invitational that he's in the same class as his more experienced competition.
Buttgereit, 14, followed his opening-round 75 on Wednesday with a 1-over par 73 on Thursday, good for sixth place at the tournament at Medal of Honor Golf Course at Quantico. His performance -- tops among Prince William area golfers -- helped Forest Park to an area-best eighth-place finish out of 24 teams. Sophomore teammate Jerry Roma contributed a second-round 75 as the Bruins posted a two-day total of 650, well back of first-place Chantilly (600).
"It was fun," Buttgereit said Thursday. "I've never played in a high school tournament before. I was a little nervous yesterday, but not today. I got to play with a lot of seniors and learned a lot from them."
Buttgereit already stands out because of his youth and small size, but he also impressed onlookers and competitors with an array of accurate shots.
"What he brings as a freshman is something you would expect from an upperclassman," Forest Park Coach Babette Overman said. "His presence definitely has helped with the development of the team overall."
The two-time defending Cardinal District champion Bruins are 10-0 this season and, thanks to Buttgereit's even-par 70 at a district mini-tournament two weeks ago, already have clinched a berth in the Northwestern Region tournament.
Overman, for one, is not surprised with the success of her freshman standout. She worked with Buttgereit when he was in eighth grade, thanks to a county rule that allows middle schoolers to travel with junior varsity teams.
"Even then we knew what his potential was," the Bruins coach said.
Buttgereit isn't the first in his family to find success on the golf course. His older brother Matt was the Cardinal District champion and an All-Extra performer at Hylton in 1999, and he later played for Christopher Newport University. It appears the younger Buttgereit may be poised for similar success.
Joe's parents, Bob and Doreen, were on hand at Quantico and couldn't have been prouder of their youngest son.
"It was pretty awesome," Bob Buttgereit said. "He's been playing competitively since he was 9, but it was great to finally see him compete in high school."
Doreen Buttgereit added: "He's got a head for this game. He's got a real brain for golf."
Buttgereit was one of three area golfers at Quantico -- all from the Cardinal District -- to post two rounds in the 70s. Gar-Field senior Chris Wills shot 78-77 to finish tied for 11th, and Potomac senior Mike Matta tied for 12th with rounds of 79 and 77.
After Forest Park, which totaled 650, Osbourn Park (687) and Potomac (693) were the next best team finishers from the area, placing 14th and 15th, respectively. Junior Silas Van Sky, who shot an opening-round 84, rebounded with a solid 77 to lead the Yellow Jackets.
Battlefield High School continued its impressive start to the season with a 14-stroke victory at last week's Stafford Invitational, and the Bobcats hope to carry that momentum into Tuesday's Cedar Run District three-way meet against Culpeper and Osbourn Park.
A victory would give the second-year school its first regular season district golf title and an automatic berth in the Northwestern Region tournament.
Battlefield senior Stephen Spaulding, who qualified for regionals last year as an individual, shot 77 on both days of the Stafford tournament to finish fourth overall.
Osbourn Park, a postseason fixture in the past several years, will need to win -- or finish second to Battlefield -- at the Cedar Run tournament on Sept. 15 to advance to the region tournament.