Wildcats’ Loughlin finishes 16th in Class 3 golf state championships

Warren County High School senior Jacob Loughlin put himself in position for a shot at a state medal with a solid round at the Virginia High School League Class 3 golf state championships on Tuesday, but his quest for a spot in the field’s top six fell short on the second and final day of the tournament on Wednesday.

Loughlin fired an 86 (+14) over his final round of 18 holes at Glenrochie Country Club in Abingdon, finishing the two-day tournament with a 36-hole total of 165. The senior was tied for ninth place after shooting a 79 on Tuesday but ended the tournament tied for 16th overall.

Skyline senior Trenton Little placed 26th in the 43-person field with a two-day total of 175, while Warren County junior Joey Sorge (177) was 27th.

“They both shot a little higher than they were hoping for,” Warren County head coach Matt Wadas said of Loughlin and Sorge in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I think both of them had trouble making those key putts that they have to make to hit those low scores. Neither one of them played bad but just couldn’t get the scores where we needed to today. But it was a great experience for both kids.”

Loughlin, who had a birdie and saved par on 10 holes on Tuesday, hit par on eight holes on the same course on Wednesday and failed to record a birdie. He double-bogeyed three holes.

Sorge, who tied Little with an 86 on Tuesday, fired a 91 on Day 2 but did record a birdie on the par-3, 175-yard No. 16.

Little finished Wednesday’s round with an 89 (+17), though he was only six strokes over par with four holes remaining before what Hawks head coach Roy Kelly called a “brutal hole” on No 15. Little needed 10 strokes to complete the par-4 hole.

“He just wasn’t able to recover from that with the last three holes left,” Kelly said. “… Could’ve been better. Even had he stayed in it he still could’ve managed to beat his score from yesterday. But he just couldn’t recover from that 10 after doing so well the first part of the course.

“He’s disappointed about the way his round today ended. I think he had a really good score in mind and that hole just kind of took it out of him. But when he looks back on it he’s gonna appreciate that opportunity he had. Just the fact that he came down, it’s a great moment for him. He may not be thinking that way now but I think when he looks back it it’ll be pretty special.”

Kelly said the course had dried out after a “very wet” opening round on Tuesday but added that the quicker greens “definitely caused some problems” for golfers on Wednesday.

Despite all three local golfers missing out on medals – reserved for individuals in the top six – both coaches were happy that Loughlin, Sorge and Little each got to experience a state championship tournament for the first time.

“One of Jacob’s goals at the start of the season, he said, was to get to states. That’s what he wanted and he came out here and he showed he can perform with the best,” Wadas said. “Joey was kind of unexpected, you know. His goal was just get to regions and put up a good score for the team. He’s a junior, we’ve got him coming back next year. Hopefully the experience will propel him to a leadership role on our team next year and hopefully another trip (to the state championships).”

Abingdon’s Connor Creasy won the Class 3 individual state championship with a two-day total of 138 (70-68), topping runner-up Ross Funderburke (143; 68-75), of Hidden Valley, by five strokes.

Abingdon (645) topped runner-up Rockbridge County (658) by 13 strokes for the team championship.

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