Wildcats’ Loughlin tied for ninth after Day 1 of Class 3 state golf tournament

Jacob Loughlin

Warren County High School senior Jacob Loughlin had a strong debut in his first career trip to the Virginia High School League Class 3 golf state championships on Tuesday afternoon, firing a seven-over-par 79 on Day 1 of the two-day tournament at Glenrochie Country Club in Abingdon.

Loughlin ended Tuesday tied for seventh place overall among the 44 golfers competing in the Class 3 tournament, which is being held in conjunction with the Class 4 championships.

The senior’s Day 1 performance was the best among the three local golfers competing in the tournament, as Loughlin’s teammate Joey Sorge and Skyline senior Trenton Little each carded an 86 on Tuesday.

“I think that’ll give him a shot for tomorrow, and that’s all we really want down here, is a shot to be a medalist,” Warren County head coach Matt Wadas said of Loughlin in a phone interview Tuesday. “He’s happy. I’m happy.

“Joey shot an 86, which was a solid first day for him,” Wadas added. “Had a couple shots not go his way but I think he’ll be right in there tomorrow in the mix.”

Loughlin saved par on 10 holes during his 18-hole round and recorded his lone birdie of the afternoon on the par-3, 165-yard No. 9.

“It was a good spark for him,” Wadas said of the birdie. “One thing I can say about this course is its kind of wide open. … We played a practice round here (Monday) and I was like, ‘Man, you can barely hit out of bounds, there’s no trouble around,’ and you get kind of deceived because the greens are very hard to hit in regulation and they’re extremely hard to putt on.

“I think birdies come at a premium here and I think that was a big spark for him.”

Sorge, a junior, and Little tied for 26th overall on the first day. Little’s round included a birdie on the par-3, 187-yard No. 4.

Skyline coach Roy Kelly echoed Wadas’ statement about the tough greens at Glenrochie.

“Trenton three-putted maybe six or seven holes alone. Say Trenton makes half of those he’s close to putting up an 80,” Kelly said. “But he hit the ball really well. He started out a little slow on the first couple holes. I think he might’ve got four strokes or so just on the first two holes but then after that he started hitting the ball solid and was playing really well. Started to get a little confidence.”

The start of the VHSL Class3/4 state championships was pushed back a day from Monday to Tuesday due to rain, and Kelly said the course was still “really wet” when golfers teed off on Tuesday morning.

“A lot of shots were getting chunked. Like one of Trenton’s shots, it was a par-3, it came down on the side of the green and it had probably just a chunk of dirt just stuck to the ball that he had that he chip through,” Kelly said. “So it was definitely very wet and just a lot of dirt flying around. But I think tomorrow with it drying out, I think they’re saying the greens are gonna be even faster, so that should be pretty interesting to see what happens.”

Hidden Valley’s Ross Funderburke (68) held a two-stroke lead for the individual state title after Day 1, while Abingdon (317) led second-place Rockbridge County by 12 strokes in the four-team race.

The Class3/4 golf state championships resume at Glenrochie at 9 a.m. Wednesday, the final day of the tournament.

“We’re just excited to have solid scores,” Wadas said. “This is our first trip here since the school split (in 2007), so I’m just pumped to be here and I’m glad the kids are playing well.”