New Warrior goes low in tourney

Published 10:12 pm Monday, September 19, 2011

Chip shot: Nansemond River senior Travis Johnson looks over a chip shot from off the No. 4 green Monday at Sleepy Hole Golf Course. Johnson led the Warriors with a 76 on the first day of the Southeastern District Tournament. Nansemond River is in second place three strokes behind Grassfield going into Tuesday’s final round.

Nansemond River’s Chad Kozoyed picked a very nice time to shoot his best round of the golf season on Monday in the first round of the Southeastern District Tournament at Sleepy Hole Golf Course.

The Warriors, the undefeated district champions for the regular season, have relied on the depth of their six-player lineup as a strength throughout the season. Never had the No. 6 player in the NR order turned in such an important score with Kozoyed shooting an 83 on Monday.

“It’s his best by far,” said Nansemond River head coach Craig Stephenson. “He beat his best round this season by 10 shots.”

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Perhaps not for much longer, but Kozoyed’s main sport, in and out of school, is soccer. He helped the Warriors to one of their best soccer seasons in recent memory in the spring. Kozoyed started play at Sleepy Hole Monday morning following a big weekend of soccer and travel.

“He was in Atlanta on Saturday for a soccer game, then Chad and his family drove to South Carolina and he played in a game there yesterday,” Stephenson said.

“They got home around 11 or 11:30 (Sunday) night and then he comes out here and plays his best round of the year,” Stephenson said.

Kozoyed’s score helped Nansemond River cut into what would’ve been a larger lead for Grassfield going into Tuesday’s final round. Grassfield, runner-up to the Warriors in the regular season, leads Nansemond River 315-318. Great Bridge is in strong contention with a team score of 320.

“Some how, some way, (Kozoyed) works around soccer to get out to the range as much as he can. He likes the game and he’s working at it to get better and we needed it today,” Stephenson said.

Nansemond River’s top player, Travis Johnson, was two-under par through six holes as the Warriors started out on the back nine. A triple-bogey on the par-three No. 16 took Johnson out of red numbers for good. Johnson struggled for the next few holes before keeping a good round intact with a four-over-par 76.

NR’s Bryce Strong survived a triple-bogey on his first hole, No. 10, and shot a 79.

Lakeland saved its best round of the season for the district tournament, shooting 364 as a team to be in a tie for sixth with Deep Creek.

Cavalier senior Ryan Sigler shot a 78 and is in strong shape to be an individual qualifier for the Eastern Region Tournament.

All of the recent rain made Sleepy Hole a wet, and therefore a little longer, course. More than the heavy turf though, the Warrior coach said gusty winds played a role out on the course. The storms during the last few days might have hurt the golfers leading into the tournament.

“With the weather since last Thursday, I know a lot of us haven’t been able to practice as much,” Stephenson said.

“We’re fortunate to know we played our second-worst round of the year and we’re only three shots back,” Stephenson said.

The Warriors have a regional spot secure thanks to winning the district season title. Nonetheless, the Warriors will be going for their first-ever Southeastern District Tournament championship in the final round Tuesday at Sleepy Hole.