Sherando’s Loy takes second in Bryan Gunter golf tournament

Brett Loy

WINCHESTER – Sherando High School senior Brett Loy said he was shooting well off the tee during day two of the 29th Annual Bryan Gunter Memorial Golf Tournament at Winchester Country Club on Friday. It was his inconsistency on the greens that Loy said was “really what did it for me.”

Loy carried a two-stroke lead into Friday after firing a 4-under-par 67 at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on Thursday, but couldn’t hold that advantage on the final day of the tournament, where he fired a 73 on the par-72 Winchester Country Club course. Loudoun Valley junior Ryan Hammer, who competed in the same group as Loy in the tournament, shot his second straight 69 on Friday to beat Loy by two strokes for the tournament title.

It was Loy’s third straight runner-up finish in the Bryan Gunter tournament since sharing championship honors as a freshman in 2013.

“I’m not really that disappointed, I just wish I couldn’t putted a little better,” said Loy, who finished with a two-day total of 140 strokes. “But overall it wasn’t too bad. I finished three under, same as last year, so I’m not gonna hang my head on it.”

Hammer’s tournament total of 138 led Loudoun Valley – last year’s VHSL Group 4A state champion – to the team championship, as the Vikings finished with a four-golfer total of 590, a tournament record and 17 shots better than second-place Washington (West Virginia). Sherando (630) was fifth in the 12-team field, while Skyline failed to finish four golfers on each day of the tournament and consequently did not place as a team.

Jonah Pearson

Loy’s round on Friday included three birdies, including hole 2 and hole 13 – both par 5s – and the par-4 number 10. The senior said he was a stroke under par after the 11th hole before he double bogeyed No. 12 and followed that with a bogey on 14, a stretch that allowed Hammer to gain two strokes on Loy.

“He birdied three out of the last four holes,” Loy said of Hammer. “He just kept making everything and hitting really good shots. I can’t take anything away from him, he played really well.”

Sherando senior Jonah Pearson, playing from the third spot in the Warriors’ lineup, fired a 79 on Friday to finish the tournament with a total score of 153, tied for the seventh-best mark in the field.

“This is the best I’ve ever shot out here before,” said Pearson, who shot a 74 at Shenandoah Valley on Thursday. “It’s a little tougher course, I don’t get to play it much, so I was still pleased getting in the 70s at all. Had a few rough holes but also some good high points as well.”

Those high points included three birdies – Pearson was 4-under on the course’s four par 5s, he said – and an eagle on the par-5 13, his second ever and first in a major tournament.

“I hit a good drive, stayed in the fairway, and I was about 200 yards out. I just hit a 5-iron in, put it to about 10 feet behind the hole and was able to drop my putt,” Pearson said. “That was a big turnaround for me.”

Senior Josh Bianco had a two-day total of 160 for the Warriors – which included an 84 on Friday – and sophomore Brandon Nice chipped into the team scoring with a 177 (89, 88).

Skyline, playing shorthanded with a few kids on vacation, was led in the tournament by sophomore Lauren Sims. She shot an 84 on Friday for a two-day total of 173.

“I think today I hit my irons better than I did (Thursday) and putting was a little better today,” said Sims, who has opened the 2016 atop the Hawks’ lineup. “I just couldn’t make birdies and pars today.”

Sims added that she shot well with her drivers on day two.

“That’s really typical for me. That’s probably my strength in my game, is my driver. Also my putter, just yesterday I wasn’t making putts, which was a problem for me,” she said.

Senior Brett Ritter finished with a score of 185 (93, 92) for the Hawks, who had just three players complete the round on Friday after seeing a golfer drop out due to extreme heat and humid conditions for the second day in a row.

“Brett Ritter and Lauren Sims both … improved over (Thursday), which is what we were going for,” Skyline first-year coach Roy Kelly said. “That was a good sign. And next week we get everybody back. But overall today I’m happy with how we played. One of our young girls (freshman Emily Nicola), she was struggling a little bit today but she made it through all 18, which I was proud of. Overall I’m happy with where we’re going, we just need to get everybody out here. That’s the big thing.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com