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Shifflett wins Shenandoah County golf title; Rams win team crown

Sam Shifflett

FRONT ROYAL – Sam Shifflett found his putting touch at just the right time.

The Central senior made some key putts during the second half of his round to shoot a 78 in the Shenandoah County Golf Championships held Wednesday at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club. He had the top score on the day to win the individual title.

“The putter really came alive for me on the (last nine holes) and helped me out a lot,” Shifflett said.

Shifflett started out playing the back nine at Blue Ridge Shadows and shot a 43. He said he was not putting well, but he was able to regroup on his final nine holes. Shifflett shot a one-under-par 35 on the front nine.

“My coach caught up with me on my front nine, and he’s like come on just go out there and shoot par and get me in the 70s,” Shifflett said. “So I just went out there, and everything started clicking. I shot the score I was aiming for and one lower even.”

Shifflett said he had two birdies and one bogey on the front nine, mainly due to his putting.

“On seven I hit a 15-foot putt for par,” Shifflett said. “Then on eight, I rolled in a 30-footer for birdie. So my putter came alive down the stretch, which was good for me.”

Strasburg won the team title with four scores in the 80s. The Rams shot a 338, followed by Central (357) and Stonewall Jackson (415).

Drew Thomas led the way for the Rams with an 83. Thomas, who is Strasburg’s No. 3 golfer, said he was happy with how he performed.

“I felt pretty good today out there,” Thomas said. “An 83 is about my normal. I’ve been struggling on this course, but it seemed pretty good today. I had a few putts that I probably should have made. I had a four-putt, but overall it wasn’t too bad.”

Thomas said he only had one birdie of the day on a difficult 15th hole.

“It’s the hardest hole on the golf course, and I birdied it,” Thomas said. “I got lucky on my tee shot, and I just stayed (out of) the water. And I was able to put it to within about 6 feet and was able to make the putt.”

Alan Arnesen led the Generals with a 95. The senior said he had a bit of an up and down day.

“I started out well, but as I got to the front nine I started losing it and having a lot of double bogeys,” Arnesen said. “But after that, I just kept it that way and finished with an OK score.”

Due to the heat, the match was moved from a 10 a.m start to an 8 a.m. starting time. The players said the heat was a big factor and made it tough to play in.

“It was rough,” Shifflett said of the heat. “Those last couple holes I would bend over to put the tee on the ground, and I would just see the sweat dripping off my face. It’s brutal out there.”

Stonewall Jackson’s Tucker Dorman shot an 84, while teammates Henry Bull shot a 105 and Daniel Gaete had a 111.

Generals coach Steve Burkholder said his young squad, which had only five players in the match, still has a lot of work left to do this season.

“We’re up and down,” Burkholder said. “I was hoping that at this point we would have seen a little bit more improvement. We’ve been consistent, just not improving quite at the pace that I would have liked.”

Central’s Brandon Davis shot an 85, Michael French a 94 and Alan Pence a 100. Central assistant coach Jacob Allwine said that he’d seen a lot of improvement from the young Falcons squad.

“One-through-three are pretty solid,” Allwine said. “And we have some guys that are really coming around that can help us with our score, but everybody has improved tremendously. And I’m really excited to see what the next month or so brings.”

Strasburg’s depth was really showcased on Wednesday. Austin Stickles, Seth Stickley and Jack Burr each shot an 85. Strasburg’s No. 6 golfer Satchel Roller had a 92, and James Burr shot a 98.

Strasburg coach Joel Morgan said it’s really nice to have the kind of depth the Rams have this season.

“Having your six come in with a 92, I know it didn’t count on the scoreboard, but that counts because you never know when you’re going to need those guys,” Morgan said. “Satchel (Roller) went out there in that six spot and had a nice day. So as a whole we were able to be fairly consistent as a group. We got a little midseason stretch here where we’re going to work through and see if we can hone back in and I think our guys will do that and we’ll be good coming in down the stretch.”