If Lord Botetourt ever led the Bob McLelland Metro Invitational golf tournament before, it hasn’t been in recent memory.
Thanks to a solid 297 team score, the Cavaliers are on top after Wednesday’s first round of the 36-hole tournament at Blue Hills Golf Club, a single stroke ahead of defending champion Blacksburg.
“A 297 is pretty strong. I’ll take that any day,” said Lord Botetourt coach Todd Smith. “If someone beats us with a 296, good job. I’ll take my hat off to them.”
The Bruins shot a 298 and trail by one, but the final round is on their home track at Blacksburg Country Club.
“Everybody has wanted to come back to Blacksburg,” Bruins coach Rick Mattox said. “They’ve been asking me and asking me. Finally the pro, Casey Jones, said he’d take it to the golf committee and they said OK.”
Thursday’s final round will be the first time since 2005 the Metro has been played at BCC. Lord Botetourt might wish that plan was pushed back a year.
“It’s a fair test. There’s not a lot of trouble, but there’s a couple tricky holes,” Mattox said. “The greens are puttable and the fairways are wide open.”
Local knowledge always counts for something, but Mattox said quality golfers can score, and he expects Botetourt to be ready.
“I think they’ll do well,” Mattox said of the Cavs. “They’re a strong team.”
“I hope we can take some confidence from today,” Smith said.
Botetourt and Blacksburg were the only two teams to have four scores of 76 or better. Samir Davidov led the Cavaliers with an even-par 71, tying Franklin County’s Timmy Massey for low round of the day. Davidov made the turn at 3-over, but birdied all three par-5s on the back nine.
“I hit all of them in two and made two putts,” Davidov said.
Massey also had three birdies on the back nine and made strong chips on 15 and 17 to save pars.
“It’s great to lead, especially in my senior year,” Massey said.
Lord Botetourt got 75s from Kaitlyn Mosdell and Ashton Harper, and a 76 from Kyle Lograsso.
The Bruins were led by David Zhang, who played in the No. 3 spot with a 2-over par 73. Davis Young shot a 74 on a course he had never seen before Wednesday, making an eagle on No. 14 and a birdie on 18 to shoot 34 on the back nine.
Melissa Meng shot a 75 and Paul Duncan came in at 76.
Franklin County is third (322) and Hidden Valley, the champs in 2015 and 2017, is fourth (328).
Blacksburg, Lord Botetourt and Franklin County were all in the second flight of six schools.
After the first flight of six schools finished, the tournament leader was Salem freshman Macy Johnson, whose 76 is the best score she’s ever posted. The tournament is her first as a high school golfer.
“I’ve never broken 80 before,” Johnson said. “Normally I play a really great front nine but fall apart on the back nine. Today I just managed to keep my cool. I had a 40 on the front and a 36 on the back.”
The Spartans (328) are in fifth place, followed by Patrick Henry (335), and William Byrd (338), a stroke ahead of eighth place Cave Spring (339).
James River, Staunton River and Northside round out the team standings.
William Fleming has only three golfers and does not post a team score, but all three of the Colonels’ players were mid-pack in the individual standings.
The final round begins at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.