By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL - Central and Skyline didn't get exactly what they were looking for in Monday's Conference 28 golf tournament held at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, but they still managed to get a combined five local golfers into next week's Region 3A East tournament.
Central's Ben Kline, Joseph Plauger and Jacob Allwine each advanced, as did Skyline's Robbie Belanger and Ben Andrews.
Kline, a senior, shot a 74, which was tied for third overall. William Monroe's Austin Batten won a playoff to officially decide the third spot.
"It was a pretty solid round," Kline said. "74's a pretty good score here. Fortunately, two other team members are going with me to regionals. Unfortunately, the team didn't make it, which is what we were hoping when we started the day."
William Monroe won the tournament with a 299, while Loudoun Valley finished second with a 317. Central finished third with a 330, while Skyline was fourth with a 356. John Champe had a 371, and Warren County had a 429. Only the top two teams advance to regionals, which will be held at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club again Oct. 7. The top six individuals who are not among the top two teams also advance.
Kline said the highlight of the day for his round came on the 18th, where he hit his second shot on the par 5 to within 10 feet of the hole, and then two-putted for birdie.
Last year Kline missed regionals, after advancing to the state tournament his sophomore year.
"It's definitely a goal for me," Kline said of getting back to the state tournament. "It's my goal each year. Hopefully, senior year I can do it."
Plauger, a freshman, shot a 79. He said he was happy with his round. Plauger said he is a junior member at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, so that helped him a lot.
"It's a tough golf course," Plauger said. "The greens are hard and fast and really tricky to putt. It's challenging. It's a fun course to play.
"I'm happy to get into regionals my first year. That's pretty awesome."
Allwine had trouble finding his ball on the 13th and had to hit the shot over, and said that took away some momentum on the back nine. The senior still shot an 85, and said he was very happy to make it to regionals.
"I'm happy to be able to go senior year," Allwine said. "I'm just really excited and looking forward to regionals. I'm going to try to make it to states, if possible, senior year -- just go out with a bang."
Belanger and Andrews each shot an 88 for the Hawks. Belanger won a one-hole playoff to officially win the fifth individual spot.
Both players said playing on their home course was a big plus.
"It was probably one of the biggest advantages we had today," Belanger said. "Last year we had to play it at a different course, and we didn't play as good as we could.
"It feels really nice to make it to regionals. Last year I was the No. 6 player, and I moved to No. 1 this year. So, it's a great feeling."
Andrews is confident knowing that regionals will be held there next week.
"I'm really excited," Andrews said. "I hope I do well in the regional tournament. It's really comforting. I just feel like it's a nice comfort zone being able to play at a course I've been practicing at all year. I think I'm going to post another low score that day, and hopefully make a name for Skyline and that would be nice."
Warren County was led by Courtney L'Amoreaux with a 99, and Destin Waller shot a 109.
Skyline's Anthony Crescyenzi and Alec Calhoun each shot a 90 for the Hawks.
Skyline coach Colin Miller said he was very happy with how his team performed.
"356 is definitely not where we want to be in the future, but it's where we are now and it's the lowest score we've had this year," Miller said. "So all in all, I take that as a positive. You always want to end your year on a positive going into next year."
Central's Corey Sibert shot a 92. Central coach Jeff Walters said it was disappointing to see the season come to an end for the team, but he was very proud of how they did.
"I'm just really pleased with three guys being able to go on," Walters said. "I'm sad the season ends for the other guys. This has been one of my most enjoyable seasons in coaching golf. These guys have great personalities. They work hard. They're fun, and they like each other. That means a lot, and it makes for a fun season."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd