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Golf Season Under Full Swing

Ireton finishes fifth in WCAC championship.

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Arlington’s Trish Christian, won the Houlahan Cup on May 2 at Mount Vernon Country Club. The trophy is named for long-time Mount Vernon member, Lorraine Houlahan, right.

Perfect fairways and greens. Perfect weather. And perfect team play, at least for winners Scott Inman and Tom Offutt in the 59th annual Belle Haven Four-Ball. Inman, a three-time Belle Haven winner from Springfield, and Washington Golf’s Offutt shot a 15-under 216 and beat defending champions Chris Reeves (Belle Haven) and Pat Tallent (Congressional) by one stroke in the three-round tournament, held May 2-4.

“If it had been an individual tournament, Tom would have won,” Inman said afterward of his teammate.

In turn, Arlington resident Offutt praised two long putts that Inman made on the back nine that enabled them to take a two-shot lead into the final hole.

“We’re good friends and we have fun playing together,” Inman continued. “But it got kinda nervy there for a while in the last round. We had to grind away on every shot.”

Belle Haven’s Rob Menefee and Jason Pool from Dunn Loring and River Bend finished third with an 8-under 208.

Gil Fitzhugh (St James Plantation, N.C.) and Marty West (Columbia) won their sixth senior title since 1999. Their 61 in the first round was the tournament’s highlight.

Earlier on Sunday, Belle Haven hosted its first junior division four-ball tournament, an 18-hole event with 12 teams drawn from Washington area high schools.

Two freshmen from DeMatha, Jordan Sweet and Ben Warnquist, shot 69 and won in a play-off. Westfield’s Tim Ritter and Wes Liu finished second.

Episcopal’s Upton Stover and Adam Stowe tied for sixth, and Joe Curley and Holt Mountcastle from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes finished ninth. Bishop Ireton’s Phil Goldblatt and Steven Porter were 11th.

One hundred two-man teams made up the main field, which included 18 in the senior division. The tournament marks the beginning of the competitive golf season in the Washington area, and draws the best amateurs in the region.

In a four-ball stroke play tournament, teams post their better-ball scores for each hole. Each group of four golfers play “four balls” through the hole, hence the term. Four-ball competition arose relatively late in golf’s development. “Foursomes” play—teammates using the same ball and alternating shots — dominated the first 500 years of the game.

<b>AT THE WCAC CHAMPIONSHIP</b>, DeMatha upset three-time defending champion Gonzaga on May 6 at Springfield Golf & Country Club. Paul VI also surprised Gonzaga, taking second place by one stroke, leaving a disappointed Purple Eagle team in third. St. John’s was fourth, as only the top four teams in the ten-team conference advanced from the first round played April 29.

Freshman Ben Warnquist won the individual medal 76-74-150, bookending his win two days earlier in the Belle Haven Junior Four-Ball with teammate Jordan Sweet. Paul VI freshman Brandon Luxenburg finished second a stroke behind, making a late push with three birdies on the last five holes, including one on eighteen in front of crowd of players and parents. Luxenburg, a Springfield member, took advantage of his local knowledge to post a 2-over 73, the low round of the tournament.

John Malanchuk from Bishop O’Connell tied for fifth, having advanced to the final round as an individual qualifier.

DeMatha and Gonzaga will play in the Washington Metro Championship on May 12 at Congressional against the top two teams from the IAC, Georgetown Prep and Landon. Gonzaga gained its spot in the Metro by having a better season match play record than Paul VI.

<b>AT THE VIRGINIA SENIOR</b> Four-Ball Championship, Ken Barlow and Jim Lazour, both of Mount Vernon Country Club, tied for first in the second flight of the 26th annual Virginia Senior Four-Ball. They shot 72-68-140 for the two-day tournament at King Carter Golf Club in Irvington, April 29-30. Leesburg’s Dayton Slater teamed with Steve Isaacs of Richmond to win the overall championship with 71-65-136.

<b>AT THE HOULAHAN CUP</b>, Trish Christian won the Houlahan Cup at Mount Vernon Country Club on May 2. Christian, an Arlington resident and member of Washington, shot an 83 in the one-day tournament sponsored by the Women’s District of Columbia Golf Association. The cup honors past District president Lorraine Houlahan.

Army-Navy members Dory Beltson and Jae Soon Song won flights one and four respectively, while Washington Golf’s Lisa Murphy and Diane Galloway won flights two and three.

“I haven’t been playing well lately, so I didn’t have any expectations,” said Christian, Washington Golf’s 2007 women’s club champion. “Winning was a nice surprise.”