By Tommy Keeler Jr.
NEW MARKET -- Colton Harlow didn't get a lot of golf practice time in over the summer, due to focusing on baseball. It would only be natural for the three-sport Stonewall Jackson standout to be a little rusty to start the golf season.
If Harlow had any rust, it was already gone by Monday's Shenandoah District mini-tournament. The senior shot a four-over par 75 to help lead the Generals to first place in the tournament. The Generals won the tournament by 19 strokes, shooting a 305 as a team.
"This year I've been pretty proud of my scores," Harlow said. "I've been hitting the ball good and my scores have been pretty low. I guess I'm happy with the way I'm playing."
Harlow said he started his round off really strong, shooting an even-par 36 on the front nine.
"Everything seemed to be going right, putting was just crazy," Harlow said. "I felt like I could hit the ball anywhere and it was going in the hole. Chip shots were dead on. Everything was going right."
Despite the round, Harlow said he was unhappy with how he finished. He struggled on the final holes, including a double-bogey on his final hole.
"I came out and started playing good on [the back nine] and just lost it," Harlow said. "I blew up. I was hitting it pretty straight, but just leaving putts barely short. I'm pretty disappointed with the way I played at the end. Pretty much any other time, I'll take a 75. I just know that I had the potential to shoot around even [par]."
Harlow wasn't the only senior that rose to the occasion for the Generals. Stonewall Jackson's No. 6 player Eric Arnesen shot a career-best 80 to help out the Generals.
Stonewall Jackson's No. 2 player Jonathan Koontz suffered a knee injury over the weekend and had to play with a brace, so Arnesen said he knew he needed to play well.
"We knew Jonathan was hurt, so I knew I had to step up and I definitely did," Arnesen said.
Arnesen said he played some over the weekend to help him get ready for the tournament. He only played in the top six three times last year, but has already scored in the 80s in each of his first three tournaments this season.
"This year it feels like I have a lot more responsibility towards the team, instead of just being a member and coming out to a couple matches," Arnesen said. "Last year it didn't matter what I played. This year I've got to play better, this team is counting on me."
Stonewall Jackson senior Andrew Good shot a one-under 70. Good, the team's No. 1, said it was a pretty good round for him.
"It was just a solid round," Good said. "I avoided the big numbers, that was key. I made some birdies, made some good putts, made a lot of close putts. It wasn't anything spectacular, it was just kind of a two-putt day or chip it close and make par. Nothing too exciting. But it was a good round, I liked it."
Buffalo Gap's Nate Hildebrand had the top medalist honor, shooting a two-under par 69. The Bison finished second as a team with a 324.
Koontz, despite playing with a knee brace, shot an 80 for the Generals. Stonewall Jackson's Ben Rosenburger shot an 82 and Korey Somers shot an 83.
Stonewall Jackson has won all three of the district mini-tournaments. Unfortunately for the Generals, the district tournaments don't mean a whole lot with the new Virginia High School League six-classification system, but it does give them some added confidence.
"It's crazy, because we came out this year thinking we could do big things, and we're proving that to everyone and ourselves," Harlow said. "It's an awesome feeling."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com