Following Tuesday’s first round of the 6A North region golf tournament, South County sophomore David Ross determined that to close the three-stroke gap between him and first place, he didn’t need a bunch of awe-inspiring shots.
A consistent approach marked by poise and short on risks would keep him in contention, he surmised.
He made an exception Wednesday on No. 17 at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club. When his 20-foot birdie putt fell, Ross raised his putter before pumping his fist as the ball dropped in the cup, offering a rare hint of emotion for a shot that ultimately sealed his individual region title.
Ross carded career-best 71s each day to finish with a 2-under par 142 and help send South County to its first state tournament with a second-place score of 606. Chantilly recorded a 603 to win its second straight team region title, as four of its golfers finished in the top 10.
“I’m not usually a guy who fist pumps and all that,” Ross said, “but I knew the circumstances and that with me in contention, that birdie putt gave me a good chance at winning.”
After catching up with first-day leader Edric Wung of Langley on the front nine, Ross dropped his approach shot within four feet on the par-4 13th hole, setting up the second of his three birdies.
Two holes later, Ross saved par to stay atop the leader board.
“I knew after shooting the best round of my life on Tuesday that I was capable of doing it again, so I just tried to stay in control of my game and not take too many risks,” Ross said. “If I made a bogey, then I told myself I would get it back.”
With just two bogeys on the day and the long putt on No. 17, Ross was able to hold off Wung, who finished second with a 144, and Madison’s Shannon Brooks, who was third with a 146.
A few slots behind them were Chantilly’s Juhee Bae (fifth), Connor Messick (sixth), Vishal Giri (eighth) and Mike Sciorra (10th), providing the balanced effort necessary to send the Chargers back to the state tournament.
“This is special for us,” Chantilly Coach Kurt Sporkmann said. “I’ve been with this group since they were freshmen and they’ve all made strides in getting better and to reach this point.”
Chantilly, South County, Ross and Wung will be joined by Battlefield’s Chad McCann, Patriot’s Luke Spitzer, McLean’s Kendall Taylor, T.C. Williams’s Marquis Usher and Battlefield’s Otto Vottiner for the 5A/6A state tournament at the Meadowbrook Country Club in Richmond on October 14-15. Should Taylor elect to instead play in the girls’ open state tournament, Madison’s Joel Choi will take her spot.