Daniel Kefale's tee shot on the par-3 18th hole landed in a bunker to the right of the green. Even when he was off-target yesterday, however, the Osbourn Park standout had few problems. Kefale deftly lifted a sand wedge over a berm and onto the green, then made a 12-foot putt for par, capping a round of 6-under-par 66 to easily defend his title at the two-day, 24-team Quantico Invitational at the Medal of Honor golf course.
Kefale, who shot 71 in Wednesday's opening round, finished nine shots ahead of the second-place finisher, Westfield senior Jeff Long. It was a dominant performance for a player who has his sights set on winning the Virginia AAA title this season -- other than Kefale, only Osbourn Park teammate Mike Braun carded a round under par in the tournament.
James River High won the team title with a score of 610, followed by Westfield and Osbourn Park. But there was little question that yesterday belonged to Kefale, who did not hit more than two putts on any hole.
"He's handling the pressure pretty well," Osbourn Park Coach Mike Foley said. "He's a marked guy. Everywhere he goes, it's 'There's Kefale.' They expect him to do well."
Kefale, who spent the summer traveling to elite national tournaments and won the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship earlier this month, did not let anyone down yesterday.
He began his round with three consecutive birdies, sinking a 45-foot putt on the first hole, knocking a chip to two feet on No. 2 and putting a lob wedge to three feet on No. 3. After that, Kefale said he knew he was in good shape to win the tournament and post a low score.
Kefale finished with a 5-under 31 on the front nine, then was steady on the back. Though it seemed certain his round would hold up for the win even if he made bogey on No. 18, Kefale said it was important to finish strong. He gave himself a chance with the sand shot, then firmly hit his putt for par.
It was the second-lowest round Kefale has shot, behind only a 65 he recorded during a practice round with friends at his home course at Montclair Country Club. Kefale has the scorecard from that round, but was unable to keep possession of yesterday's card because he had to turn it in to tournament officials -- though he did not seem upset.
"Hopefully sometime soon I'll shoot lower than 66 and be able to keep the scorecard," Kefale said.