Sherando, Loy end season at regional tournament
STERLING – Although Sherando’s conference-winning, high-school golfers failed to qualify for the 2016 VHSL 4A state championship, several unheralded Warriors performed well Tuesday afternoon at the Algonkian Golf Course.
It was a tough day for Sherando, its best golfer, Brett Loy and veteran coach Rob Wright as they watched their dream slide away on the 6,592-yard layout along the Potomac River in Loudoun County.
The event was the VHSL Region 4A West Tournament.
Wright recently spoke of the urgency of his team playing well this year because it will lose its top three golfers: seniors Brett Loy, a two-time conference champ and 2014 state titleist; Josh Bianco and Jonah Pearson.
But it was not to be as Loy shot an 18-hole total of 75 on the par 72 course; nonetheless, several of his teammates put in some of their best efforts.
Sherando scored a team record 315 to tie Woodgrove for sixth place at the end of the rounds, which were played in shotgun fashion beginning at 9 a.m.
The Warriors defeated Woodgrove for their conference victory at Blue Ridge Shadows in Front Royal.
Team champion was Heritage (298), which edged out E.C. Glass (299) to take the title. Both will advance to next week’s state tournament.
William Byrd (302) and Loudoun Valley (303) rounded out the top four.
“Just wasn’t our day,” said Wright.
Loy agreed: “I had a couple of holes, but overall, I don’t think I played so well. Just couldn’t get anything going.”
He finished 3-over par.
Loy hammered the two par 5s on the front nine-eagling one and scoring a birdie the other – but then his play leveled off.
Loy remained reticent even though he was playing on a big stage with close family and friends who made up a good-sized gallery.
“It was neat having them out here,” the golfer said.
“I just try to keep my composure, no matter what happens. Remain the same way all the time,” he said.
Loy and partner Bianco played the Algonkian course twice this week to prepare. The former showed steady resolve pacing the fairway after each drive to get a bird’s-eye view of what lay ahead.
Others used their height to see their shots.
One such was junior Ryan Judy, the Warriors’ third man. Judy carded a career-best 81 to finish behind Loy and Sherando’s second lowest tallier, Bianco (77). Pearson rounded out the top four with a steady 82.
Brandon Nice and Evan Simmons tallied scores of 88 and 101. Wright was grooming them for 2017 play.
A shade over 6-feet tall, Judy especially appreciated the flat course.
“I’d say it plays a little longer but it’s flatter too,” said Judy.
A younger brother of former Sherando (2010) and Shenandoah University (’14) golfer John Judy, he said his brother’s advice was this, “You may get nervous so when you get there, take a couple of deep breaths before you start out.”
Though Ryan Judy said he shared no nerves until arriving at the course where several hundred golfers, coaches, school officials, fans and course members watched the proceedings.
“On the way down, I didn’t feel so good,” he said.
But after a couple of early shots, he said he felt “more composed.”
Bianco, another senior, was among the happiest of Warriors. Wearing what might be described as knickers in his school’s traditional colors of red, black and white, he also wore rush-color red golf shoes.
His game matched his outerwear.
“My putter saved me,” Bianco said.
While he shot a 5-over, he failed to birdie one hole.
On the par 4 fourth hole, Bianco canned a 25-footer for par. He later chipped in for par on the par 4, 15th hole.
“I was either sinking the puts or making them good enough that all I had to do was tap in the next one,” Bianco said.
Wright was philosophical about his team’s performance in light of so much success over the last three years with Loy, Bianco and Pearson leading the way.
“I’d love to see them all to keep playing,” Wright, “A few things weren’t clicking today for Brett, but you know he started out 2-under and you were thinking this could be his day. That’s golf.
“These three are tough to lose. Not only are they great golfers, they’re great students and they’re great student leaders in the student body.”
Region 4A West Tournament
Algonkian Golf Course, Sterling
Top individual winners among regional qualifying teams
1. Ryan Hammer (Loudoun Valley) 70
2t. Jimmie Massie (E.C. Glass) 71
2t. Isaac Simmons (Jefferson Forest) 71
4. Derrick Chocklett (William Byrd) 73
1. Heritage (Leesburg) 298
2. E.C. Glass 299
3. William Byrd 302
4. Loudoun Valley 303
5. Jefferson Forest 304