Players and parents huddled together anxiously inside the clubhouse of Twin Lakes Golf Course, where the scorer’s area filled with the sounds of officials barking out one two-digit number after another.
Tuesday’s conclusion of the Concorde District Golf Tournament had everyone squinting at the scoreboards and wondering the same thing: Who finished second?
Centreville emerged as the runner-up to clinch the final team spot in next week’s Northern Region tournament by the narrowest of margins. A two-day total of 613 put the team one stroke ahead of Oakton, thus allowing the Wildcats to qualify for regionals for the third time in the past four years.
To no one’s surprise, Chantilly locked up the other regional tournament slot, running away from its district competition with a first-place team score of 12-over par 588 — its third straight Concorde title. Robinson finished in fourth with a score of 658, while Herndon came home with 689 and Westfield recorded 741.
After shooting 76 on Monday, Chantilly junior Ju Hee Bae reclaimed her grip on the competition by firing a five-under 67 that earned her a spot in a two-person playoff to determine the individual district champion. Connor Messick, a junior teammate who carded 70-73, met her at the 10th tee box, guaranteeing a fourth straight Concorde champion from Chantilly. Messick’s par putt lipped out on that first playoff hole and secured back-to-back district crowns for Bae.
“It feels good, but I feel not so happy at the same time since it was against a teammate,” said Bae, the only holdover from a team that graduated five starters after last season. “But we all played great as a team. I’m really proud of my team.”
The Chargers’ dominant performance reflected an undefeated season that has produced a steady flow of low scores ever since it captured the 22-team Bear Golf Invitational on Aug. 6. Chantilly won the inaugural Concorde Kickoff at Chantilly National Golf Club by 10 shots before sweeping all five of its district 9-hole matches.
Such a blistering run is especially impressive for a squad that graduated seven seniors from last year’s team, which finished second to Langley in the regional and state tournaments. A hotly contested battle between Chantilly and Langley seems imminent again this season, as the Saxons enter Monday’s two-day regional tournament fresh off a 591 total that won it the Liberty District title at Herndon Centennial Golf Course.
The Chargers might have the upper hand this year, though. They beat Langley in the prestigious 36-hole Virginia State Golf Association High School Invitational last month, and they came away with a 9-hole season average of 150 compared to the Saxons’ 156.
“I don’t know if we’re necessarily the team to beat, but we’re better than anybody, including ourselves, expected,” Chantilly coach Kurt Sporkmann said. “All the folks this year that are contributing really didn’t have that much experience except for Ju Hee. So we’re really replacing five people and putting them into the mix and asking them to score and play well.”
Centreville, meanwhile, made up ground after trailing Oakton by three shots after day one. Although nerves caused them to shoot 13 strokes higher on the second day, the Wildcats still managed to finish one shot clear of Oakton.
“It was hard fought; Oakton came out and played fantastic yesterday,” said coach Geordie Bigus, in his ninth year at the helm of Centreville’s golf team. “We came out of the gates pretty hot, and then kind of cooled off on the back nine, and today we did the same thing. But I’m happy. This is the most likable group of kids I’ve ever coached.”
Freshman Yoo Jin Kim paced the Wildcats with scores of 71-79, while senior Shaan Kololgi came in with 78-75. Senior Keon Ho Song finished with 73-80, and sophomore Jae Jun carded 80-79.
“I’m new to the team, so it feels really nice having these guys here with me,” Kim said. “Playing well on the first day and bad on the second day is probably my routine. I’m trying to get better and better and be the low scorer.”
Although talk seems to focus on Langley, Chantilly and Madison, Centreville could be the dark horse going into Monday’s regional tournament at Twin Lakes Oaks Course. The Wildcats averaged 156 in their 9-hole matches and lost by just two strokes against Chantilly in the season’s final head-to-head 9-hole matchup Sept. 20.
“We can get Chantilly,” Kololgi said. “They’ve got some good players, but we can win it.”
Individuals from the Concorde that advanced to regionals include Ho Jae Lee, Carter Lawhorn, John McGuinness, Stefan Suh, Alex Robinson and Richard Shapiro. Individual qualifiers from the Liberty include Nathan Chuwait (individual champion), Matt Ashley, Julie Luo, Nick Vazzana, Andrew Gordon and Ruby Rim.
South County and Lee will represent the Patriot District at the regional tournament. The Stallions completed their undefeated season Sept. 20 with a first place finish at districts, finishing seven shots clear of second-place Lee High at Twin Lakes Golf Course.