By Brad Fauber
NEW MARKET -- Stonewall Jackson golf coach Roger Wilkins expected the Generals to be solid at the top of their six-man lineup this season, with seniors Jonathan Koontz, Ben Rosenberger and Kory Somers bringing plenty of varsity golf experience to the team.
What remains unclear for Wilkins is just who will develop the consistency to provide Stonewall with a reliable fourth scorer this fall.
"The team, we have some experience at the top but not much room for error on their part," Wilkins said. "... It's tough for three guys to have to consistently to do that. We have to develop depth."
So far no one has seized a firm grip on the No. 4 spot for the Generals, but Stonewall has pieced together a solid effort in the season's opening week. That trend continued in the third Shenandoah District mini tournament of the season on Monday at Shenvalee Golf Resort.
The Generals captured their first team victory of the season on Monday, as they combined to fire a 330 on their home course to top the eight-team field and best second-place finisher East Rockingham (333) by three strokes.
The win came on the heels of two runner-up finishes to East Rockingham in a pair of district minis last week, and Stonewall Jackson is now just three strokes behind the Eagles in the regular-season district race.
Stonewall's victory was an encouraging sign for Wilkins and the Generals, even more so since Koontz -- Stonewall's top golfer this season -- admittedly didn't have his best stuff on Monday.
"My tee shots were OK. My putting was OK. Everything was just OK, but you don't shoot great scores when you're OK," said Koontz, who fired an 11-over-par 82 on the par-71 course.
"Pitching and chipping was pretty off," he said. "It's just really hard to gauge the speeds because some shots check and some shots roll and it's impossible to tell which will do which. It was a pretty anticlimactic day. Every hole I was expecting to get out of the rut and I just stayed in it."
The rest of the Generals helped atone for Koontz' quiet day on the links, as Rosenberger, Tyler Somers and Kory Somers all finished in the low 80s to complete Stonewall's balanced scoring.
Rosenberger led the way for Stonewall, as he fired an 81 on the combined Creek and Olde course nines, his lowest scoring output in three tries so far this season.
"I had a few pars, a birdie. Just had some trouble with pitching, chipping and some putting problems. But it ended up being not too bad with an 81," Rosenberger said.
"I think my irons, they were working out pretty well for me. Hitting them long, straight. Just how I wanted."
Riverheads' Wes Snyder claimed low-medalist honors on Monday with an even-par 71, while East Rockingham's Jacob Laughlin fired a 73. Rosenberger was one of three golfers tied for sixth place individually.
"Ben is just Mr. Consistency," Wilkins said. "... He deserves to be in the 70s and I hope he gets in there a couple times this year because he works hard, he's a great kid and he's got a great demeanor for golf."
Tyler Somers, a freshman, fired an 83 for Stonewall Jackson, while Kory Somers finished with an 84.
"Tyler Somers came up big today for us with that 83," Wilkins said.
"Kory Somers, if he could get his shots more in the fairway and his second shot on the greens, he'll be in the 70s consistently," he added.
Both Koontz and Rosenberger said the course was pretty damp on Monday, which led to some unpredictability on the greens.
"It really affects your short game because you're expecting to really get down on the ball and then you take a monster divot. It's just not ideal conditions," Koontz said.
Stonewall Jackson is scheduled to return to action again today in the fourth Shenandoah District mini-tournament of the year at The Club at Ironwood in Staunton.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com