Colten Smith wins Skyline tourney

By Brad Fauber

FRONT ROYAL — Everything clicked for Strasburg junior Colten Smith on Tuesday.

Though battling a cold during the seventh annual Skyline Invitational at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, Smith had little else to complain about with his performance on the links. He fired a 1-under-par 70 to top a field that included players from 13 different schools, earning him the individual championship medal.

Smith’s 70 bested his previous career low — a 75 at Bryce Resort earlier this season — by five strokes.

“Everything went good. I started off with a birdie and then it just stayed decent,” said Smith, a regular player at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. “Every shot counted. I did have a few bad ones, but I still went out and saved. If I made a bogey, I turned around with a birdie. It just stayed like that.”

Smith’s day began on the eighth hole of the Red Nine, where he birdied the par-4 to set the tone for the rest of his round. He did shoot three bogeys during a round that also included a venture along the course’s White Nine, but Smith offset those with four birdies behind a balanced performance.

“I was off the tee box well. My putting was just rolling. I was making all kinds of stuff,” said Smith, who played out of the No. 2 spot for Strasburg. “Pretty much everything was on today.”

Colten Smith wasn’t the only Ram to shine in the tournament. Strasburg senior Jacob Smith, tabbed as the Rams’ No. 1 golfer on Tuesday, came in right behind his teammate with an even-par 71.

Like Colten Smith, Jacob Smith was sound in all aspects of his game on Tuesday while finishing with three birdies, all on the White Nine.

Jacob Smith finished tied for second individually alongside Rock Ridge’s Brandon Yoon and Loudoun Valley’s Brandon Weaver.

“I drove the ball pretty well and I hit my irons pretty good, but the best part was definitely putting,” Jacob Smith said. “… I had so many birdies, not because of great second shots, but because of great putts. I had putts that lipped out for birdie, that’s OK. I just putted fantastic. If I went back and charted my putts, with all the greens I hit it was probably in the 20s. So it was fantastic putting.”

The stellar day from Strasburg’s top two golfers netted the Rams a third-place finish in the team standings, behind only Loudoun Valley (305) and Dominion (309).

Senior Garrett Richards shot an 82 and junior Gage Tefft fired a 91 to give the Rams a team total of 314 strokes.

“We’ve been practicing hard,” Rams coach Jordan Hardy said. “… We’ve been doing a lot of drills in practice working on getting back strokes that you lose during a round. Worked a lot yesterday on, especially on this course, keeping the ball in play with good tee shots.

“It’s all about peaking at the right time so we’re trying to get better each practice, and each time we go out and play we’re trying to get better as a team score,” he added. “This is our best team score, so we’ve accomplished our goal for today. We’ve just got to go out hopefully next tournament and beat that score again.”

Sherando came in right behind Strasburg in the team standings, as the Warriors carded a final score of 318 strokes.

Sophomore Brett Loy led the Warriors with a 72, a mark that tied him for fifth place individually alongside John Champe’s Michael Kuhn. Junior Mason Scott and senior Collin Ordonez each fired 81s for Sherando, while sophomore Joshua Bianco carded an 84.

Bianco and Ordonez — who shot a career-low on Tuesday — played out of the No. 5 and No. 6 spots, respectively, for the Warriors. Jonah Pearson also shot an 84 for Sherando, but his round was not used in the final scoring.

“We played pretty good,” Warriors coach Rob Wright said. “They struggled a little bit. Roughs were up and scores were a little higher than we’d like to see, but it’d been a while since they walked 18 [holes] so it’s a good time for them to get back in place, get used to it.”

Wright said Loy struggled early, as the sophomore was three-over-par after the first five holes before he settled in.

“He held it together,” Wright said. “He had a little trouble driving today and he got that worked out about halfway through the round. His short game, it’s a good short game. Putting he’s usually pretty good on. That showed today.”

Skyline, which finished in ninth place with a score of 368, saw improvement on its home course on Tuesday. Senior Anthony Crescienzi (88) and freshman Brandon Griffith (86) both broke into the 80s for the first time this season, while Hannah Henry shot a 96 and Matthew Fritts a 98.

“This is our first time this season any of our players have gotten in the 80s, which any other year you’d be disappointed that it happened this late in the season, but we have been fighting hard and trying to keep a positive attitude,” Hawks coach Colin Miller said. “Finally today Anthony and Brandon came through with an 88 and an 86, which is fantastic. They’ve definitely been the top two golfers all season long.”

Warren County finished last among the 12 schools that registered team totals, as the Wildcats collectively fired a 405. Courtney L’Amoreaux led Warren County with a 96, and the Wildcats also got scores from Chase Hatfield (100), Brandon McWhorter (103) and Dalton Jenkins (106).

Legacy Christian’s Will Akers fired a 121 as the school’s lone representative in the tournament.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com