Lakeland moves to next level

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

The final day of the Southeastern District golf tournament proved successful for all three Suffolk schools Wednesday at Nansemond River Golf Club.

Most successful of all was Lakeland, who held on to their first day hold on third place to advance as a team to the Eastern Region tournament, to be played at Sleepy Hole Golf Course on Oct. 3 and 5. It’s the first time that the Cavaliers have made it to the next level since moving to AAA competition in 1995, though they made it once while the squad was still in AA.

Both Nansemond River and King’s Fork placed two individual qualifiers through to the regionals, Fork for the first time ever.

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It was a tight finish for the Cavaliers, as Western Branch and Nansemond River made bids to overtake Lakeland during the back nine.

&uot;I didn’t know for sure until our last guy came in,&uot; said Lakeland coach Ron Robertson.

That last guy, Josh Winslow, posted a season-best 79 playing in the number six position.

Winslow’s round made up most of the margin for Lakeland (312-324-636) over Western Branch who finished 20 shots back, and the Warriors who were 24 shots off.

Lakeland’s Ben Hunter, and River’s Rashad Hunt put up even-par 72’s, which were the lowest rounds in the field for day two. Hunter’s two-day total of 147 put him in a playoff for second place overall with Hickory’s Jonathan Wilson.

Going back to the first hole, a par four, Hunter nearly hit his second shot out of bounds short and right of the green.

Pitching to the back fringe, Hunter still had 18 feet to save par, with Wilson having a tap-in for par awaiting. Hunter drained the clutch putt, forcing the playoff to the par-three second hole.

On the second, Wilson hit his iron over the green, while Hunter hit it on. Hunter’s 12-foot par putt closed out the playoff, securing him second place honors. Great Bridge’s Ben Gilliam won the district championship with a 146 total.

&uot;Yeah, I played pretty well today,&uot; said Hunter.

Both he and Hunt said being very familiar with Sleepy Hole could turn into an advantage in the regional tournament.

River’s Nolan Butler shot 78. Matched with his first round 77, that gave him an individual spot into regionals.

Despite finishing in sixth as a team (335-345-680), King’s Fork had two players who will keep their seasons going.

David Brown’s second-straight sub-80 round (78-79) was enough by one shot to put him through to regionals.

&uot;Last year I was one stroke off,&uot; said Brown. &uot;This is a big milestone because I don’t have the pressure of making it for the first time going into next season, my senior season. I played pretty solid. I could’ve done some things better, but I’m pretty happy with it.&uot;

Fellow Bulldog Shane Doherty needed a playoff of his own, with three players finishing at 158 and only two individual spots remaining.

Doherty’s 77 on Wednesday made up ground on the field after his first day 81.

Returning to the first hole, Doherty and Western Branch’s Jay Horton each pared the hole, winning the last two places.

&uot;I’m very happy with the team because a different guy stepped up both days, and that’s what you need in a two-day event. Our guys showed a lot of composure for the whole tournament.&uot;