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Floyd County stands in 3rd place and Parry McCluer is 2nd in the 1A field with a round to go.
Monday, October 14, 2013
FRONT ROYAL - Twice the fun.
Half the field.
The VHSL debuted its new state golf format Monday with the Group 2A and Group 1A classifications playing slimmed-down events on the same course at the same time.
One thing did not change. Golfers from the schools that formerly comprised Region C rode to the top.
Virginia Tech recruit Amanda Hollandsworth of Floyd County fired a 1-under-par 70 at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club to take the first-day lead in the 36-hole Group 2A tournament.
Meanwhile, Holston posted the top overall total with a 325 for an 11-stroke lead over Parry McCluer in the Group 1A team standings, while Graham and Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg shared the 2A team lead at 326.
Floyd County is lurking in third place in the 2A standings, 10 strokes back at 336.
"We laid back," Floyd coach Skip Bishop said. "We've given them all the confidence they need. We'll just sneak up on them tomorrow."
Hollandsworth tip-toed nowhere.
The Floyd County senior, bidding to add an individual title to the pair her sister, Jessica, won in 2004 and 2007, lived up to her advance billing by carding the only round that broke par.
Hollandsworth's 70, which included five birdies, was good for a two-shot lead over Zach Toohey of Graham. No one else in Group 2A is within seven strokes of the lead heading into today's final 18.
"Normally I'm right around par," said Hollandsworth, who played 18 holes measuring 5,247 yards compared to 6,234 for her male competitors. "I'm struggling right now going low. My game's really consistent. I'm going to stick with it."
Hollandsworth's older sister Jessica was present during the first nine holes Monday. Amanda Hollandsworth, the starting center on Floyd's 2012-13 Group A Division 2 state basketball championship team, hardly needs more inspiration.
"Since I was in the eighth grade and was called Jessica Hollandsworth's little sister, I've always tried to win a state championship and be just like her," she said.
Golfers from former Region C schools are no stranger to success.
The schools from the old Region C configuration won 10 of the last 13 Group A championships including six of seven from 2006-2011. Three of the last four individual champions and eight of the last 10 including John Bryant of Galax last year were from Region C.
Five former Region C schools are competing this week. The only difference is that two - Floyd and Graham - are in Division 2 while three - Holston, Parry McCluer and Galax - are in the Division 1 field.
The other three schools present Monday were from the old Region B. No former teams from Region A or Region D qualified.
Instead of eight teams competing for a title, there are just four under the new VHSL format. Instead of 72 individuals in each classification, there are 36.
Floyd County is looking for its sixth VHSL golf title and its first since 2007, but the Buffaloes have two teams to catch.
Bishop knows where his team can make up ground.
"Five out of our six golfers today had a huge number on at least one hole, eights and nines," Bishop said. "If you can eliminate that and at least get a bogey or a double-bogey, there's six or eight strokes right there."
Either that, or let Hollandsworth make up the 10-stroke deficit herself.
"We'll tell her she's going to have to go lower," Bishop said. "‘You only shot 70. We need a 60 out of you.'"
Parry McCluer coach Nelson Fox is optimistic his squad can make up the 11-stroke deficit on Holston, a school that has never won a state title in any team sport.
"If we get four guys to shoot the way they've been shooting in the [conference] and the regional then we've got a good chance," Fox said. "I think we're peaking at the right time.
Cody Buchanan fired a 74 to lead the Blues. Buchanan is tied for second place with Josiah Singleton of William Campbell. Both golfers trail Larkin Gross of Essex by one shot.
Only 17 of the 71 players in both tournaments broke 80 as the golfers were not allowed to lift, clean and place their ball in the fairway.
"It surprised me. But the state tournament, you've got to expect that."
Galax, with three freshmen in the lineup, is 29 shots back in Group 1A at 354. The Maroon Tide has a freshman-laden team.
"Young and nerves," Galax coach Terry Snow said. "Just a tough day all around."
At Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Front Royal (Par 71)
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