To some American golf fans, the game doesn’t have the feel of a team sport.
Televised PGA Tour events reinforce the vision of a single player against many. Moreover, individual U.S. stars, even Tiger Woods, often fare poorly in international team events.
But the Westfield High School golf team proved that golf can be a rewarding and exciting team game. The Bulldogs have won six straight team tournaments so far this season and recently won the Northern Region title on Oct. 7 at Fairfax National Golf Club.
Trailing Madison High School by nine strokes after the first round of the two-day tournament, the Westfield players called on their experience to grind out a four-shot victory over Madison.
High winds on the second day added to the course’s regular hazards, forcing players to add two clubs for shots into the wind.
"I told my players to be patient," Westfield Coach Tim Vigotsky said. "Because of the wind, I urged them to keep scores in perspective. Think about 80 as par, I said, and don’t get upset with a bogey now and then."
The players heeded his advice.
The four low scorers all shot under the coach’s par — Wes Liu, 76, Tim Ritter, 78, Shabril Brewer, 78, and Sara Stanley, 79.
The advice also helped the golfers use to foul weather to aid their game.
On one par-5, Wes Liu used a following wind to his advantage and eagled the hole.
"The wind was tough," Liu said after his round. "I really had to think twice about each club selection."
Ritter adapted to the wind, but later complained about his putting during the second round.
"I missed six short putts," Ritter said. "I just couldn’t judge the speed."
Chantilly High School’s Ji Soo Park won the individual medal with a combined score of 145.
Park, a two-time honorable mention All-Met, used the wind on the 343-yard 14th hole. He unexpectedly drove the green and startled the group ahead of him.
Lui was the runner-up to Park with a 148 and Oakton’s Amanda Steinhagen finished third with a 149.
With the win, Westfield advances to the state AAA tournament, on Oct. 19-20 at Waterfront Country Club near Roanoke.