Golf Mini Tournament

August 24, 2010

By Tom Myrick

Special to The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER- It was honors even at the Winchester Country Club on Monday, as Handley and Sherando shared first place in the third and final Northwestern District mini tournament of the season.

The Judges and the Warriors each posted four-player scores of 336 to top third-place James Wood (344) by eight strokes. Skyline (345) and Millbrook (349) rounded out the field. Playing on their home course, the Judges made the most of their advantage, carding two of the day's top three rounds. Aubrey Wilkerson's 3-over par 75 earned him second place in the event, while Kyle Stickley's 77 put him in third. (Skyline's Zack Henry won his third mini with a 69.)

An 88 from George Craig and a 96 from Kyle Riffey completed the scoring for the Handley.

"It's a real good result for us today," Judges coach Tommy Arthur said. "Our team is starting to coalesce to get four good scores. We are going in the right direction and our scores are continuing to go downward. I am very encouraged.

"We got great performances today by Aubrey and Kyle. Aubrey's been on fire and Kyle has finally started to catch fire as well. I am expecting even more out of him. But for them to finish second and third lowest, that's pretty cool."

Sherando, meanwhile, got a team-best seven-over 79 from junior Cory Hammons, and solid rounds of 81 and 82 from Kolby Madigan and Cameron Wiseman, respectively, to help overcome a shaky round from the normally reliable Chris Slater.

Slater, who fired an 81 in the second district mini last week, carded a 22-over 94 on Monday.

"Chris probably had his worst round in two years, but the other guys stepped up and carried him," Warriors coach Rob Wright said. "I told him, 'Even though it's an individual sport, you are still a team.' The other guys picked him up today, and I'm sure Chris will do the same for them at some point."

The Warriors have now earned at least a share of the top spot in each of the three district mini-tournaments this season, putting them in pole position for the regular season title.

The fourth component of the regular season championship is the dual play between the teams.

"It helps us because it puts a little more distance between us and James Wood, which means a whole lot," Wright said. "We've got to finish up strong the next few days. We can't have the guys lighten up, because we still have important matches to play.

"But we do have the luxury now of being able to put some of the younger players in, get them some match experience so they'll be ready for next year."

Despite seeing his Judges finally match the Warriors at the top of the leaderboard Monday, Arthur was hesitant about reading too much into that performance.

"I don't think it's indicative of much except what went on today on our home course," he said. "We've still got a mountain to climb to beat Sherando."

Dylan McKee and Will Holmes each shot an 84 for James Wood, while Kyle Hevner finished with an 86.

Matt Fazenbaker led Millbrook with an 82, and Grace Eisenhauer pitched in an 87.

Overcast skies, some intermittent rain, and increasing winds made the conditions more challenging as the day wore on, but the clouds were a welcome change for the sun-baked golfers.

"We thought it was great playing conditions today," Wright joked. "We've been used to walking around in 100-degree heat and the sun beating down on us. But the course played really well. The fairways were well-watered, the rough was a little bit dry. You were rewarded for good shots, but if you go off the fairways, you paid for it."

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