Hunt prepares for state

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Greg Hunt didn’t worry much about shooting for eagles at the Eastern regional golf tournament earlier this week. The Nansemond River High School junior didn’t even worry about driving the ball 250 yards, or landing a chip shot two feet from the cup, or whether he would two- or three-putt.

Actually, Hunt didn’t worry about much at all. After taking the Southeastern District title on Oct. 1., he didn’t have to. By becoming the first golfer since Salem’s Kevin Miller in 1997 to shoot two below-70 rounds, Hunt charged away from the pack at regionals, turning in a score of 69 at Portsmouth’s Bide-A-Wee Course on Monday and a 68 at Virginia Beach’s Kempsville Golf Course on Tuesday to win the championships by seven strokes over the nearest finisher, Nick Combs of Menchville.

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But Combs never made it easy for Hunt. Heading into the final nine holes, the two were tied. For the last half of the course, Hunt proved how tranquil he truly was, birdying holes 10, 13 and 14. When it was over, he’d passed the course with a -2, good enough by far to become the first Warrior to win the individual regional title.

&uot;I just kept the same game plan (from districts),&uot; said Hunt, who’s been practicing ever day for state competition. &uot;I wasn’t focused on winning the tournament, just about making pars. I didn’t think about the other people in the tournament.&uot; Teammate Jonathan Faw, who finished seventh at regionals with a 149, also qualified for state, which begins Oct. 15 in Bluemont, in northwestern Virginia. The Bluemont course is commonly called one of Virginia’s top 10 courses.

&uot;There’s not a lot of pressure if you just worry about yourself,&uot; Hunt said, &uot;but you can’t feel too relaxed, or you might not shoot as good. I haven’t been to state, but the golfers there are probably going to be a lot better.&uot;

While Hunt was charging through the greens and fairways, his father Greg, Sr. was sitting at home, anxiously waiting for word on his son’s progress. &uot;I checked in every three or four holes, calling people on their cell phones,&uot; said the older Hunt. &uot;Finally, I called, and someone said, ‘Look, your son’s at -3; you can stop calling!

&uot;We knew that a lot of the guys at the regionals were really good,&uot; he said. &uot;They could light it up anytime. The Southeast is the strongest region in Virginia, and we really respected their talent.&uot;