Warriors gain regional golf berth

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nansemond River senior Travis Johnson hits from the No. 17 tee at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course Wednesday in NR’s match against Great Bridge. The Warriors won 314-344, going to 8-0 on the season. The Warriors clinched at least a share of the season district title and a team spot into the Eastern Region Tournament.

PORTSMOUTH – Nansemond River continued its undefeated season and clinched a spot into the Eastern Region Golf Tournament on Wednesday with a 314-344 win over Great Bridge at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course.

“It’s huge. This is the group I started with and to come four years together and do this, it’s huge,” said Nansemond River head coach Craig Stephenson.

One of the seniors who’s been a top Warrior golfer throughout the last four years led the way. Shanice Mason shot one-under par with a pair of birdies on the back nine to total a one-over par round of 73.

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Mason and Great Bridge’s No. 1 player, Lauren Kruszewski, were co-medalists.

Mason birdied No. 11, a short par four, and No. 16, a long par three with water in play. Mason avoided any trouble with an iron straight to the middle of the green. She rolled in a downhill, 12-foot putt for the two.

Senior Travis Johnson, playing in NR’s No. 1 spot, shot a 77. Bryce Strong and Jacob Foster shot 82s to complete the Warrior team total.

At 8-0, the Warriors clinched at least a tie for first place in the Southeastern District with one match left.

Nansemond River’s depth, with Johnson, Mason and Griffin Genier winning medalist honors in matches throughout the season, has been a strength throughout the season. Getting four or more players shooting well on the same day could be the key to keeping success going through postseason tournaments.

“If we can put it all together, we can shoot as low as anybody,” Stephenson said.

The Warriors have one match, against Indian River on Sept. 12, over the next three weeks before the Southeastern District Tournament.

“We have to learn to play smart golf,” Stephenson said.

“Our ultimate goal now is making it to states,” he said.

A season ago, Johnson made states individually. Making the state tournament as a team, and competing for the team title, is a big step up. It’s one the Warriors have built themselves up for, though.