Jimmy Taylor played most of a spectacular round of golf anonymously before he rounded the bend and found his coach and three teammates standing at the top of a hill behind the 15th green.
Before the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships Tuesday at Northwest Golf Course in Silver Spring, the Gonzaga golfers and coaches had vowed not to discuss scores on the course.
But after Taylor birdied the par-5 15th to move to 5-under par, word began to spread that Taylor was dominating the field, on his way to a personal-best 6-under 66 that won the tournament by six strokes.
“Coach, want to know what I’m at?” Taylor called to Coach Mike Hanagan at No. 15.
“Nope,” Hanagan replied.
“You sure?” Taylor asked with a smile. He never disclosed his score. But at that point, Hanagan knew it would be outstanding.
Gonzaga finished with a team score of 367 and five of the top nine scorers, and DeMatha placed second with a 392. Both teams advanced to contend for the Metros championship the following Tuesday, along with Georgetown Prep and Bullis from the Interstate Athletic Conference.
On the par-4 18th, Taylor dropped his second shot within four feet of the hole before a crowd of spectators. “He’s so good!” a voice cried. “He’s a robot!”
His 66 went on a monitor in the clubhouse. “He’s in high school?” one onlooker marveled.
Just last year, Taylor needed a team qualifying event before the WCAC championships to earn a spot as one of six Eagles competing for the conference title.
Before last year’s tournament, Taylor said, a computer science teacher asked him how he felt about it, and he said he felt okay. Then the teacher asked, “Can anyone beat you?” Taylor thought about it and said, “I don’t think so.”
Last year, Taylor won a playoff to break a three-way tie with teammates Kevin Johnson and Pieter DeGroot for the WCAC crown. He returned confident Tuesday and finished without a bogey to win again.
“I knew this course from last year and I didn’t think it was that tough,” Taylor said. “I just wanted to go out there and hit a lot of greens, and maybe make a couple putts.”
And this year, he did not need to play in the qualifier.
“If you ask the players on our team — which I think is a pretty good gauge of how well you’re doing, because they know exactly where people stack up — this year it’s been Jimmy every time we do a team round,” Hanagan said. “He’s right there, and everyone knows he’s right there.”