WARRENTON — As the James Wood golf team waited for its last two golfers to finish on Monday at the Class 4 Northwestern District golf tournament, it had reason for some anxiety.
One of its golfers had been disqualified for accidentally signing an incorrect scorecard. Even if that score counted, James Wood’s four golfers in the clubhouse were only one stroke up on Handley’s four golfers as the two teams battled for the third and final Region 4C qualifying spot.
The Colonels depth has been a strength all year though, and it showed up Monday when it counted most.
Number six golfer Evan Peterman shot an 85 and No. 5 Drew Johnson shot an 88 to lift James Wood to a four-player team score of 339 that was good for third place, four shots better than fourth-place Handley (343). As a result, the Colonels are heading back to the Region 4C tournament after missing it last year.
“Probably one of my favorite things about high school golf is when you’re in a real tight match and your last kid comes in with a really good score that gets you a win, or moves you on to regionals in this particular case,” James Wood coach David Oates said.
James Wood had hopes of possibly winning the district tournament after beating Kettle Run by four shots and Fauquier by 10 in a nine-hole match just one week earlier at Fauquier Springs, but the main thing was that the Colonels did enough to keep their season alive in the eight-team tournament.
Senior Jackson Lynch led the way with an 82, which tied for fourth overall. He was followed by senior Carson Baker (84). Peterman and Johnson are also seniors.
“This is probably as happy as I’ll be finishing third,” Oates said. “We came here last week and played so well. We thought we would challenge Kettle Run and we thought we would challenge Fauquier as well. But once you get to the playoffs it’s just survive and move on. I’m really happy for my group of seniors that were able to do this because we didn’t make it last year.”
Regular-season champion Kettle Run defended its tournament title with a 320, 13 strokes better than Fauquier (333). Fauquier’s Bryce Leaze won with 2-under 69 to beat Kettle Run’s Reese Massei by three shots.
Winchester-Frederick County golfers scooped up five of the six individual qualifying spots for the Region 4C tournament, which will take place at Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville on Oct. 7. The Judges will send senior Braxton Duvall (tied for fourth overall with an 82), sophomore Jack Thome (83) and senior Brennan Smith (85). Millbrook (fifth with 363) will send junior Austin Allamong (84) and Sherando will send senior Parker Gregg (89).
Oates gave Peterman credit for playing consistently after he thought Peterman opened with a triple bogey on his first hole, the par-4, 315-yard 10th hole. A year or two ago, Oates said Peterman might not have recovered from a start like that.
Peterman’s at the point where he has high expectations for himself though. He shot a 35 at Fauquier Springs last week, so he was expecting more.
“I felt like I was doing awful throughout the whole round,” Peterman said. “I wasn’t doing as well as I did [last week] unfortunately. It was my chipping and my iron game [that were off], unfortunately, the biggest parts of the game. But we pulled through.”
Peterman didn’t learn about the James Wood disqualification until his second-to-last hole, but he helped the Colonels pull through with a birdie on the 347-yard par-4 eighth, which meant the bogey he had on the ninth didn’t hurt the team at all.
“It feels good [to help the team],” Peterman said.
Lynch said the Colonels put in a lot of hard work to make Monday’s moment happen.
“It’s a great feeling [to qualify for regionals],” Lynch said. “For Evan to come in [with an 85] and save us like that is great. We wanted to take first, but it feels good to be moving on. The six kids on that board [for James Wood] work harder than any other kids I’ve seen play golf.”
Handley coach Troy Mezzatesta said his team has gotten strong performances from its top four all year, but it’s never gotten more than five strong scores at a time. One of the members of the that top four, Cody Williams, shot an uncharacteristically high 93 Monday for the team’s fourth counting score Monday.
“I’m really happy for Evan [Peterman],” Mezzatesta said. “He’s a great kid.
“I think it’s fitting [James Wood won]. They were a more solid team. Their 5 and 6 gave them shots [this year]. Ultimately we always made hay mostly with our top four, but we’ve never gotten a sixth score [like Peterman’s] that counted. That’s just how it goes. But overall, I’m proud of our team.”
Other scoring golfers: Millbrook: Tyler McGuire 90, Nick Gressley 92, William Croyle 97. Sherando: Ian Adams 92, Landon Rohani 97, Peyton Vaught 103.
For more coverage on Monday’s tournament, see Wednesday’s edition of The Winchester Star.