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Suffolk teen ready for new level

Adam Peebles is still fairly new to the game of golf. Peebles, a Suffolk resident and rising sophomore at Portsmouth Christian, started hitting the links regularly only about three years ago.

In that span, he’s already learned how to win and how to do well against older players. More to the point, he’s learned, practiced and played to the point where he has a 1 handicap.

Next week during the VSGA (Virginia State Golf Association) Junior Match Play Championship, Peebles, 15, will be taking a step up the junior golf ladder as far as competition. Once again, he’ll face a field made up mostly of golfers who have two or three years on him.

“I really haven’t played in many major tournaments,” Peebles said. That’s not to say he hasn’t accomplished plenty of impressive honors.

Peebles was the Metro Conference MVP for his seventh- and eighth-grade seasons with Portsmouth Christian. In his seventh grade season, he was MVP at the same time he was the youngest player in all of the conference. In the VIS (Virginia Independent Schools) state tournaments he’s played in, he’s finished as high as fifth in the state.

Around Hampton Roads, he won a streak of 13 straight one-day junior golf events around the region when in the 13-and-under age group.

The VSGA Junior Match Play Championship, starting Tuesday at Nansemond River Golf Club, is open to golfers ages 14-18. More than 100 golfers start with stroke play for the first two days. The top 16 at the end of Wednesday go on to match-play rounds Thursday and Friday. This will also be the first match play event for Peebles.

Nansemond River’s “a couple minutes from my house” says Peebles and he’s played it plenty of times before, though he considers Elizabeth Manor Country Club his home course. Having his first VSGA state championship tourney set nearly in his backyard is an advantage.

“I definitely like having it right here. It’ll be good to sleep in my own bed before each round,” Peebles said.

He’s set the bar high for himself next week. “Since it’s my first year, the main thing I want to do is qualify (for the match play rounds). If I could get to the semifinals, I’d be very happy and of course getting to the final would be great,” Peebles said.

He hasn’t played competitive match play before, but he has one strength which common knowledge says goes very well with excellent match play players.

“I feel my short game’s my strength. When my putter’s rolling pretty well, I feel I will play well and I’ll score well. When you putt well, you can shoot low on any course,” Peebles said.

The state’s Junior Match Play Championship will be the biggest tournament Peebles’ has played in, but only for a few days. On June 28, he’s going to play in qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.