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The Titans won the team title, while the Cave Spring senior shot 69 to claim individual honors.
Monday, September 30, 2013
LAUREL FORK - What more appropriate occasion than the first Group 3A Conference 32 golf tournament to crown a pair of first-time champions?
Hidden Valley won the team championship Monday, while Cave Spring senior Drew Lagan shot a 2-under-par 69 to claim the individual title at Olde Mill Golf Club.
In previous years, the first level of the postseason was the district tournament, but that format has been scrapped in favor of the conference setup.
Hidden Valley and runner-up Cave Spring will advance to the Group 3A West tournament next week at Botetourt Golf & Swim Club. The Titans already had clinched a berth by virtue of their regular season results against the other five Conference 32 members, but taking home the first-place trophy Monday was still a big deal.
"We never won the River Ridge tournament," Hidden Valley coach Brian Harris said.
Hidden Valley also failed to win any of the three conference "minis," even though the Titans had the low overall stroke total in those matches
"We were the most consistent team, so that helped us qualify, but we believed we could win it," Harris said. "It's good for the players' morale to know that they could actually win."
Hidden Valley's four-player score of 317 edged Cave Spring's 324 by seven strokes. Blacksburg was another six back at 330, missing out on the 3A West berth.
The Titans got monster efforts at the bottom of the lineup from Sean O'Connell and Brad Williams. O'Connell, a senior playing at No. 5, shot a 77. Williams, a freshman who had been bumped from No. 2 to No. 6 in the order, fired a 75 to finish third overall in the tournament.
Their rounds made up for an 82 by No. 1 player Kristen Hearp and an 83 by No. 2 Jack Henry. Hearp shot a 62 earlier this year in winning the Bob McLelland Metro Invitational.
"Brad actually shot an 88 last week so we put him in the sixth spot," Harris said. "I told him he could play his way back up into the mix."
Lagan used a blazing start on the front nine and held on to win the individual title by one stroke over Abingdon freshman Andrew Spiegler.
The Cave Spring ace had two eagles and a birdie on the three par-5 holes on the front nine en route to a 4-under-par 33. He reached the 484-yard first hole and the 468-yard seventh with a driver and an iron.
"I had five feet for eagle on [No.] 1 and about three feet for eagle on seven," Lagan said. "When you get an eagle on the first hole, that starts it off right. The last time I played here, I shot 81."
Lagan double-bogeyed the par-4 10th hole and followed with a bogey 5 on No. 12. The key to his back nine might have been a par save on the par-5 13th.
"I was 190 [yards] out hitting my fourth shot and got up and down for par," he said. "That kept me going a little bit, and I had two birdies coming in."
Those came on the par-4 16th and 18th holes. Spiegler, playing in a different group, bogeyed the same two finishing holes including a three-putt on No. 18.
"From 30 or 40 feet," said Spiegler, who defeated Lagan in a regular-season match at Olde Mill earlier this year.
Patrick County's Damian Beasley and Blacksburg's David Tolley earned the other two 3A West at-large berths along with Spiegler, Beasley qualified via the regular season, while Tolley's 76 grabbed the final spot over the 81 shot by teammate Katie Turk.
Lagan's title was his first in a high school postseason tournament, but he wasn't exactly jumping for joy.
On the eve of the Group AA championship two years ago, Lagan suffered a serious knee injury while jumping in the stands as a spectator during a Cave Spring football game.
Lagan still carries a burden of wondering whether his injury cost the Knights the 2011 Group AA state title.
"We ended up losing by three as a team, so I'm thinking it might have," he said.
Lagan has a sense of humor about the injury which produced what still is a lengthy scar on his left knee.
"I had problems with my knee before and ended up having to get surgery," he said. "A lot of stretched ligaments and cartilage damage they had to suck out. They ended up moving my kneecap over and putting a graft in just to keep it from popping out.
"I'm trying to stay away from the student sections this year. No dance moves, no nothing."
Group 3A Conference 32 golf tournament
at Olde Mill G.C., Laurel Fork (Par 71)
Medalist - Drew Lagan, Cave Spring 69.
x-Hidden Valley (317) - Brad Williams 75, Sean O'Connell 77, Kristin Hearp 82, Jack Henry 83, Sam Comer 85, John Craghead 92.
xx-Cave Spring (324) - Lagan 69, Alex Line 84, Meagan Board 85, T.K. Garrett 86, Richard Fishwick 87.
Blacksburg (330) - yy-David Tolley 76, Katie Turk 81, Hunter Duncan 86, Kelly Zeiger 87, Will Linkenhoker 91, Chris Long 104.
Abingdon (343) - y-Andrew Spiegler 70, Tanner Adams 83, Blake Adams 94, Matthew Largen 96, Laeth Ratliff 100, Gunnar Dowell 101.
Patrick County (346) - y-Damian Beasley 80, Eli Horton 87, Cayden Dalton 88, Tyler Stone 91, Aubrey Hopkins 93.
Christiansburg (414) - Josh Moore 91, Aaron Jackson 98, Ryan Woolwine 112, Peyton Williams 113, Adam Anker 119, Grayson Porterfield 132.
x-Team qualifier for Group 3A West regional based on regular season.
xx-Team qualifier for Group 3A West regional based on tournament.
y-Individual qualifier for Group 3A West regional based on regular season.
yy-Individual qualifier for Group 3A West regional based on tournament.
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