By Brad Fauber - email@example.com
NEW MARKET -- Central junior Ben Kline saved his best performance of the 2012 season for when it really mattered, as he fired a 72 during the Bull Run District Championship at Shenvalee Golf Resort on Monday.
Kline beat William Monroe's Logan Yates (74) by two strokes to take "Most Outstanding Performer" honors on the afternoon, and he qualified for a spot in next Monday's Region B tournament at The Manor Golf Club in Farmville.
Central missed the opportunity to advance to regionals as a team -- Strasburg received that honor by finishing in second place with a score of 327 -- but Falcons coach Jeff Walters was all smiles when talking about his top golfer after the tournament.
"Just a dominating performance," Walters said. "I tried to kind of stay away from him on the course, but the couple times I did get to see him, I got a wink, I got a thumbs up, so that was enough for me. I knew what that meant. I just couldn't be more proud of him."
Strasburg coach Rick Bowley also had plenty of reasons of his own to smile about after his team turned in a very consistent performance on Monday. The Rams were led by senior Tyler Doman, who shook off a tough start on the front-nine of the Olde Course to end the day with an 80 on the par-71 course.
Strasburg's top four golfers each shot under 85 for the day, as Doman, Jared Werner (82), Jacob Smith (84) and Rob Creekmur (81) helped the Rams qualify for the regional tournament after missing the cut last season.
"I think the four scores we counted are decent scores. Maybe we weren't great today, but we were good enough," Bowley said. "We made it and we are very proud and excited to be going to regionals. We really feel like we've accomplished something this year."
Second place in the team standings was up for grabs until Creekmur, Strasburg's No. 4 golfer, turned in his score, which was his lowest this season, to all but seal the spot for the Rams.
"I knew it was going to come down to me [doing well] or [the team] not going regionals," said Creekmur. "I guess I play better under pressure."
William Monroe, which had already locked up a regional berth with the regular-season district title, led the seven-team field on Monday with a team score of 315. Central finished fourth in the standings with a total of 341 strokes, seven behind third-place Clarke County (334).
Kline's stellar day on the links included a pair of eagles and two birdies. His first eagle came on the par-5 third hole on the Olde course, which he followed with a birdie on Olde No. 5. Kline's second eagle came a few holes later on another par-5 -- this one the 375-yard eighth hole -- and he birdied the first hole of the Creek course to start the back nine on a strong note.
Kline actually shot a 71 on the afternoon -- one stroke short of his career best -- but he didn't realize that Strasburg's Werner, who was keeping Kline's score, had mistakenly given Kline a four instead of a three for the par-3 fourth hole on the Creek course. Kline signed the card to make the 72 official before realizing the mistake.
That was the only blemish to Kline's performance on Monday as he out-dueled Yates, arguably the best golfer in the district.
"If you would've told me that this morning [he would have the top score], I definitely would've taken it," Kline said. "Yates kind of crumbled the last few holes. If he wouldn't have done that, it would've been really close between me and him."
Kline wasn't the only Falcon to qualify for the regional tournament. Senior Eric Semones will join his teammate in Farmville next week after shooting an 82 on Monday.
Semones is eager for another crack at the Region B tournament after experiencing it last season when Central advanced as a team.
"It's pretty cool to go back-to-back years," Semones said. "Hopefully we have a good time, shoot some low rounds and go to states."
Doman is also excited for the opportunity to advance to the next level after being Strasburg's lone regional qualifier a year ago. This season will be extra special as the Rams will be making the trip to Farmville as a team.
"This year, I really wanted to make it to regionals as a team, because I thought we should have last year -- just to make up for it," Doman said. "I thought the team was just better last year all around, but people stepped up this year and it helped out a lot."