By ROB WITHAM
H-P Sports Correspondent
The competition was tough, the course challenging, the greens hard and fast.
But all four competitors in the 2017 golf opener last Thursday for Hanover, facing fellow Class 4, Region B members Monacan and Powhatan, along with Matoaca at Stonehenge Country Club in Midlothian, became a test of wills, and, many times, a test of putters. In the end, the Hawks got more consistent play overall, led by Jimmy Hill’s 78, good for co-medalist honors, to win the quad to begin their season, the first for new head coach Hunter Hoy.
“I was playing really good up until #15, bogeyed that, and went downhill after it, but still proud of the 78, can only get better,” Hill said. “The greens were hard to adjust to after putting at Hanover (Country Club) because they’re so slow there.”
With accurate second shots, and tee shots on par three holes, golfers could stick the ball on the greens at Stonehenge, but navigating them once on the surface was another story. Hill, Monacan’s Zach Long, who also shot a 78, and Matoaca’s Chase Petri battled each other, and the greens, all afternoon.
The Hawks finished with a 321, two shots ahead of Monacan. Matoaca was next at 341, followed by Powhatan at 398.
Hill is one of seven seniors on the Hanover roster this season, coming off a third place finish in the final Group 4A State Tournament a year ago. Hill wants to be able to move the program forward as Ward Wilkinson did last season. Wilkinson now is at the United States Naval Academy.
“Filling big footsteps after Ward is a big deal,” Hill explained. “I’ve been practicing a lot and trying to get better, so hopefully I’ll be up to par to where he was and fill those shoes.”
Hanover, however, couldn’t turn having a match in hand into an advantage on Monday when the Hawks met their first county challengers in Patrick Henry and Lee-Davis at Queenfield Golf Course. Missing Hill, Patrick Henry used two sub forty rounds in the nine-hole match to take the victory 163-178, with the host Confederates shooting a 193.
Patrick Henry sophomore Jessica Rathbone, who won the Richmond Golf Association (RGA) Junior Girls Championship last month, shot a 33 in the #2 position for the Patriots, while Rory Ailor shot a 38. Jack Proctor and Robert Patina each shot a 44 for Hanover, while Christian Dyer and Andrew Wilkinson added 45’s.
Austin Brown led Lee-Davis from the #1 spot, shooting a 43, followed by David Fleischer with a 48.
All four county school teams, including Atlee, will gather Tuesday morning for their annual County Quad at Hanover Country Club. The golf season is in full swing now, and continues at a fast pace, like Stonehenge’s greens, until the new region tournament format takes over in late September.