Loudoun Valley wins, Sherando takes 3rd at Gunter Memorial Golf Tournament
WINCHESTER — Friday’s finale to the 27th annual Bryan Gunter Memorial Golf Tournament proved to be not just a triumph for Loudoun Valley, which won both the team and individual championship, but also an emotional moment for Viking coach Troy Mezzatesta.
“We got a lot better today and that was the key to our success here,” Mezzatesta said. “Prior to this tournament our best team score for a day was 324. We scored 311 today, and that’s a big improvement.”
Loudoun Valley’s victory over Dominion, 639-645, was certainly a satisfying moment for Mezzatesta, but when Viking golfer Brandon Weaver equaled his Friday score of 70 and took the Billy G. Phillips Trophy for the top score in the tournament, it brought back a flood of memories for Mezzatesta.
“To have one of my golfers win the Billy Phillips award touches my heart,” Mezzatesta said. “I grew up just three miles from Winchester Country Club, and I can tell you they were a great family. I played here at Winchester Country Club growing up and went to camps here with him when I was a kid. It’s very emotional to be here and think about those things. To have one of my kids win the award is something I will never forget.”
After trailing Sherando by one stroke (321-322) after the first day, Dominion, coached by former Millbrook coach Russ Korn, turned in another solid round to take second place in the tournament. The Titans were led by Kurt Funkhouser, who improved his Thursday score (77) by two strokes with a 75. That was good enough to place him fifth individually (152).
“I’m very pleased with our finish,” Korn said. “We were very consistent both days, and had our two lowest rounds of the year. We’re a very young team and to be in the hunt for the title today was special.”
Sherando, despite leading the tournament after one day, fell to third (648).
Brett Loy’s Friday score of 75, however, was good enough to place him in a tie for second with Washington’s Ryan Fleming with an individual score of 148.
“I had a good front nine  and a bad back nine ,” Loy said. “I made a few mental decisions on the back nine that cost me a lot of strokes. I’m happy with it though, but I know that I can do a lot better.”
Despite falling to Loudoun Valley and Dominion, the Warriors still proved to be the class of the field for area teams and, along with Loy, Sherando’s Mason Scott (82), Jonah Pearson (83), Josh Hogue (88), and Collin Ordonez (87) also made important contributions to the high Warrior finish.
“We’re a very young team, and we improved today from where we finished last year at this tournament,” said Warrior coach Rob Wright. “We’ve still got work to do though. There were just nine strokes between first and third. We made some mistakes that cost us strokes, but I’m real proud of the kids and the way they hung in there.”
After scoring a disappointing 85 on Thursday, James Wood’s Roger Repasky rebounded to finish just behind Loy Friday with a score of 76. His round typified the Colonels’ in the tournament. After registering a team score of 351 on Thursday, Wood improved its team score by 14 points (337) on Friday to finish eighth with a score of 688.
Besides Repasky, Hunter Hall (81), Ben Marsh (90), and Zach Denitto (90) all had lower scores on Friday.
“We really bounced back today after a really bad day yesterday,” said Colonel coach David Oates. “We’re happy where we are right now, and we’re going to focus on lowering our scores over the rest of the season.”
Millbrook (696) concluded the tournament just behind the Colonels with a ninth-place finish. Ryan McCarty led the Pioneers with an overall score of 165, followed by Brian McGuire (168), Jeremy Mills (182), and Andy Kim (187).
“I thought that our kids did OK,” said Millbrook coach Mark Manspile. “We don’t get to play Winchester Country Club very often, and it’s a little shorter, but a lot tighter course than we’re used to. There are some things that we can improve on, but overall, I thought we did okay.”
Handley finished 10th with a score of 760. The Judges were led by Scott Mikulec (179), Colleen Connelly (182), Jamie Miller (191), and Nick Mitchell (198).