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Group AAA Golf: Bears falter after fast start
BY JUSTIN RICE
VIRGINIA BEACH—Riverbend golf coach Josh Johnson was hanging out around the sixth green at Red Wing Lake Golf Club, watching the Bears come through with their playing groups in the second day of the Group AAA state tournament Tuesday.
Megan Frederick chipped in for birdie at No. 6. Devon Oeters made par and stayed at 1-under for the day. Andrew Mueller hit a long birdie putt. Michael Mead had a par and seemed to be pulling himself together.
“I thought right there we were going to turn it on,” Johnson said. “But you really don’t know until the last hole. I thought we were going to go from there.”
Instead of providing a spark for a great day, the No. 6 green turned into the high-water mark for Riverbend and its dreams of a state team title.
“We were looking good at that point,” Mueller said. “But a couple of bad swings and it changes a lot.”
Oeters’ 76 was the Bears’ best round of the day and Riverbend finished fifth in the team standings. It was a banner season for the Bears—the best in school history, including the first team trip to the state tournament—but it was a disappointing finish, after Riverbend found itself within striking distance of first place after the first round.
“We definitely did not play to our potential today, not even close,” Oeters said. “Momentum went south quick and we didn’t keep it going.”
The Bears shot a collective 303 in a rain-soaked round Monday. Frederick turned in a 77 to add to Oeters, Mead and Mueller, and Riverbend was two shots behind third-place Battlefield and just five shots behind Mills Godwin. But it could not make up ground Tuesday, despite slightly better weather conditions—it was still cold and windy, but the rain slowed to a light drizzle, instead of Monday’s downpour.
Godwin’s best four carded a 294 in the second round and it edged Chantilly, 592–597, for the team title. Manchester’s Lyberty Anderson had a 69–68—172 for the individual championship, one shot better than Jason Park of James River.
Oeters was leading the way in Riverbend’s early run Tuesday. He played the first eight holes at a stroke under par, and was looking at a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 9. But he missed that chance and then couldn’t sink the resulting 2-footer for par and dropped a stroke before making the turn.
Mead made a bogey on No. 2 but had steadied himself with four straight pars. Then errant tee shots on No. 7 and No. 8 led to back-to-back bogies, and he had three three-putts on the back nine holes to finish with a 78.
“I didn’t have my ball striking together this week,” he said. “I don’t think any of us did. It really wasn’t our week.”
The best news for Riverbend is it will have a chance next year to apply the lessons learned this week. Only one of the Bears’ top six is a senior, and Mead, Oeters and Mueller are all expected back for the 2013 season.
“I think it’s a good thing that we’re not jumping around,” Johnson said. “That’s a good sign—not being satisfied with fifth. We had a team goal of coming in the top five, but once you put yourself in position like we did yesterday, you find yourself a little disappointed.
“We’re going to learn from this, and we’re going to be even better next year.”
TEAM SCORES: 1. Mills Godwin 298–294—592; 2. Chantilly 300–297—597; 3. Battlefield 301–306—607; 4. James Madison 314–300—614; 5. Riverbend 303–313—616; 6. Grassfield 311–306—617; 7. Thomas Dale 312–307—619; 8. Cox 315–310—625.
TOP EIGHT INDIVIDUALS: 1. Lyberty Anderson (Manchester) 69–68—137; 2. Jason Park (James River) 68–70—138; 3. Edric Wung (Langley) 74–68—142; t–4. Travis Broome (First Colonial) 71–73—144; t–4. Mark Lawrence 75–69—144; t–6. Curt Kennedy (Mills Godwin) 72–73—145; t-6. Connor Messick (Chantilly) 72–73—145; t–8. Kyle Hart (Midlothian) 74–72—146; t–8. Adam Szwed (Woodbridge) 75–71—146.
RIVERBEND (top four scores each day contribute to team score): Devon Oeters 76–76—152; Michael Mead 75–78—153; Andrew Mueller 75–78—153; Megan Frederick 77–81—158; Sameer Abdel–Qader 79–81—160; Adel Hasan 81–91—172.
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045