Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 15, 2013

Graham golfers tied for first at state tourney

Staff report
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — The Graham G-Men are halfway done and tied for first in their quest for a state golf title.

The G-Men crafted a 326 team score on Monday on a soft Shenandoah Valley Golf Club course, good for a first-place tie with Stonewall Jackson High School at the midpoint of the two-day tournament for the state trophy in Virginia’s new Group 2A division.

“I’m really proud of the team,” said Graham coach Matt Dixon. “They hung in there on a real tough golf course.”

Zach Toohey led Graham with a 1-over par 72, the second-best score of the day. Amanda Hollandsworth of Floyd County turned in a 1-under 70 on Monday. She won the VSGA Junior Girls Championship last July for the second straight year.

“Zach Toohey had a great round,” Dixon said. “He’s competing for an individual state championship as well, and he’s just two shots behind.”

Graham’s Ben Ramsey shot a 78, Travis Simms had an 87, and Jacob Britton carded an 89. A school’s best four scores of the day are used in computing the team total.

The Shenandoah Valley has gotten 4 to 6 inches of rain in the last few days, Dixon said. On Monday the golfers finally got a break in the weather.

“It had been raining ever since we got up here,” he said. “We finally saw the sun for the first time. The rain looks like it’s cleared out and the forecast is for good weather the next two days.”

The Graham coach said his team only got to play nine holes in their practice round on the championship course on a rainy Sunday.

“We looked at back nine, but we really didn’t get to play it,” he said. “For knowing nothing about it, the team did really well.”

The precipitation had an effect on Monday.

“They’re soft conditions,” Dixon said, “but you’ve got to play the ball down everywhere. You don’t get relief. You play it where it lies. But then, everybody had to play it.

“Now that the sun’s come out, the course is starting to dry out.”

In team play, Floyd County is 10 strokes back at 336, and Buffalo Gap has a 244.

“When you get this far and there are only four teams left, you know all of them are good,” Dixon said.

Two Richlands golfers are in the field as individuals. Zach Luttrell fired a 78 and Dylan Sawyers reported an 80 on Monday.

The tournament is scheduled to conclude with 18 more holes today.

“We didn’t play our best but we’re happy to be tied for first,” Dixon said. “These kids did a good job representing themselves, and we’re going to try our best to bring home a championship tomorrow.”

“We’re in the mix, in the individual and team competition,” the coach said. “It’s going to be a pretty exciting day tomorrow.”