Sims wins district golf title, Hawks take second place as a team

Skyline's Griffith, Little place third and fourth individually

Skyline's Lauren Sims tees off during the Class 3 Northwestern District Golf Tournament held Tuesday at Shenandoah Valley Country Club in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Tuesday’s Class 3 Northwestern District golf tournament at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club provided the league’s six teams with a warm-up round ahead of next week’s Region 3B tournament scheduled for the same course. Lauren Sims and her Skyline High School teammates left their home course with plenty to feel confident about.

Sims, a junior, fired an 80 (+8) at the tournament held on the SVGC’s Blue and Red nines, claiming the individual district title and leading Skyline (341 strokes) to a second-place team finish behind Brentsville (336) and just ahead of third-place William Monroe (342).

The district title was the first for Sims, who was one of three Hawks to place in the top four individually among the 32 golfers who competed on Tuesday. She joined seniors Brandon Griffith (third) and Trenton Little (fourth), who each fired an 82 on the par-72 course.

“I didn’t play my best but I also, I think, played pretty well,” Sims said. “I had a lot of good putts today. My driver wasn’t the best, like I wish it could’ve been better but overall it was a good day.

“It means a lot,” Sims said of winning the district title, “because I’ve been practicing a lot over the winter to get ready to play better.”

Warren County's Mike Silek putts a shot during the Class 3 Northwestern District Golf Tournament held Tuesday at Shenandoah Valley Country Club in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sims’ round included a pair of birdies on Blue 5 and Blue 7 – each a par 4 – on the front nine and eight pars. She was three-over (39) on the front nine and five-over (41) on the back.

Of her two birdies, Sims said it was her series of shots on Blue 5 that was the most noteworthy.

“I hit a really good drive, hit the cart path right at the green so I was pin-high, right side of the cart path,” she said. “I chipped and almost made eagle, and then I had about a 2-foot putt for birdie. That was a good hole.”

Neither Griffith nor Little had any birdies during their 18-hole rounds but each put together solid showings and faced off in a playoff hole for third and fourth place and a bit of bragging rights.

Griffith, slotted in as Skyline’s No. 2 golfer, opened the tiebreaking hole on Red 1 (301 yards) with a pristine tee shot down the heart of the fairway that settled about 20 yards short of the green, setting up a birdie on the par-4 that gave him the win over his teammate. Little needed three shots to reach the green after pulling his tee shot left well off the fairway – where it came to rest under a tree – and punching his second shot over the green.

Skyline's Lauren Sims chips a shot onto the green during the Class 3 Northwestern District Golf Tournament held Tuesday at Shenandoah Valley Country Club in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We’ve played together in a playoff before but I just wanted to get a nice tee shot out there and be able to chip it to the green, since it’s just a short hole, and just get my one-putt so I could get third place,” Griffith said.

He added that he  hopes to shore up his short game over the next week before returning to Shenandoah Valley Golf Club for the regional tournament with a state berth on the line.

“I was off the tee really well and anything inside 100 yards I just put it real close,” Griffith said of Tuesday’s round, “gave myself a good shot of making birdie or par a lot, just about every hole.”

Little, who said he was “surprised” by how well the Hawks fared as a team in the district tournament, admitted that his own round “could’ve been better.”

“I started off the first hole a little rough, a couple holes after that I started to pick up the pace a little bit,” Little said. “What really killed me, I was on Red 7 and I took a double bogey on that hole. That definitely made a difference on my score today. Had a lot of birdie opportunities but didn’t get a chance to capitalize on any of them.”

Joseph Embrey’s 97 rounded out the scoring for Skyline.

Warren County (368) placed fourth out of the five teams that fielded full lineups – Manassas Park entered just two golfers – and did so without No. 1 golfer Jacob Laughlin, who missed the district tournament for academic reasons, head coach Matt Wadas said.

Each of the Northwestern District’s six Class 3 teams automatically qualified for next Tuesday’s Region 3B tournament.

“This was like a dry run,” Wadas said. “This was great for us to have. Although the turnout wasn’t what we wanted, we didn’t have one of our guys, we didn’t have our No. 1, so I was really happy with how these guys stepped up without one of their teammates.”

Joey Sorge, a sophomore, led Warren County with an 86 – tied for eighth overall – despite suffering a nosebleed on the fifth hole.

Preston Hudson shot a 92 for the Wildcats, David Kelly had a 93 and Michael Silek carded a 97 from the team’s No. 1 spot to round out Warren County’s scoring.

“Joey’s 86 was good, especially with what happened when he got that bloody nose. Definitely golf is one thing you don’t wanna have mental breakdowns out there and that could’ve caused one, so I’m glad with that,” Wadas said. “And then Preston, he got a 92 – that was our second best – as our No. 5. That was a personal best for him.

“Yeah, there was some highlights there. Obviously our four scores together is not what we wanted but I think it was definitely a solid day for us.”

The Region 3B tournament is scheduled for 10 a.m. next Tuesday at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. The regional team champion and the top five individuals not on that team advance to the VHSL Class 3 state tournament.