FOREST — The faces change, but the look of the winning team at the John Scott-Heritage Invitational is familiar. For the third straight time, five players wearing light blue golf shirts with the Blacksburg crest have accepted the tournament trophy.
Not a single player from last year’s winning squad was back, but that did not stop the Bruins from posting a team score of 301 on Monday at London Downs Golf Club. Blacksburg finished six strokes better than Jefferson Forest (307) and nine ahead of Lord Botetourt and George Wythe at 310.
“Knock me over with a feather,” said Blacksburg coach Rick Mattox when told that his team won. “Never in a million years did I think we would win this year. When you lose your entire starting lineup, your aspirations for the year are not what you’re used to expecting.”
Senior Melissa Meng was a regular for the Bruins last year but was playing a national junior tournament this time last year and missed the Heritage. She posted a 75 Monday, the low round among female players, beating Lord Botetourt’s Kaitlyn Mosdell by a stroke.
The Bruins were led by Davis Young’s 1-under-par 71, which tied him for second with Jefferson Forest’s Garnet Manley III, as an individual, a stroke behind medalist Nick Rakes of Rustburg.
Young is a recent addition to the Bruins, moving from South Carolina after his father, Mike Young, took the job as Virginia Tech’s head basketball coach.
Mattox said having a player like Young show up was fortuitous.
“He’s been a godsend because the boy can flat-out play,” Mattox said.
Young likes his new scene.
“I’ve been here about a week and I really enjoy it so far,” Young said. “I like the golf up here a lot and I really like my teammates. We’ve had some fun so far. The golf is a little bit different but the greens at Blacksburg and here at London Downs are the same as my home course in Spartanburg. I really like those type of greens.”
Jefferson Forest coach Garnet Manley Jr. said his team wanted to win, of course, but second place was a solid accomplishment.
“If you told me at the beginning of the day we were going to finish second, I’m good with that,” Manley said. “We had two kids in their first-ever matches. We had a kid [John Toney] shoot 80 and he three-putted the last green to do that. He played really well. He can play like that, but we still have pressure on the top four to score. Normally we’re six or seven deep so we can see who’s playing well, but we don’t have that right now.”
Defending Class 1 champion George Wythe made its first trip to the Heritage and tied for third.
With its entire lineup back, the Maroons should be a juggernaut in Class 1, so this tournament was a chance to take on bigger schools.
“Third is good here. We’ll take it,” said Maroons coach Johnny Beamer. “We’re pleased with this and it’s our first time here. We knew there were some real quality teams here. Some of the guys came Saturday and had a practice round and had a lot of fun. They really enjoy the layout, but they were more frustrated today.”
Lord Botetourt’s round could have been better but for three players each hitting a ball out of bounds.
“That’s me,” said the Cavs’ No. 1 player Samir Davidov, who shot even par after 17 holes but hit his tee shot out of bounds on his last hole while trying to cut a dogleg.
Coach Todd Smith said the Cavs could have scored better, but third place in the first tournament of the season, facing 22 other teams, is a quality result, despite the mistakes.
“It’s golf. They’re high school kids. They’ll learn from it,” Smith said.
Other Timesland team results included Rockbridge (seventh), Hidden Valley (eighth), Cave Spring (12th), Patrick Henry (17th), James River (18th), Liberty (19th) and Staunton River (20th).
The John Scott-Heritage Invitational is named after Heritage’s longtime golf coach who started the tournament 26 years ago.
Scott, who is now retired but still serves as tournament director, has worked with another veteran coach, Heritage’s Rich Glover, to make the Heritage Invitational a strong tournament to kick off the scholastic golf season.