From an individual standpoint, there weren’t many smiles on the faces of the Marriotts Ridge players after the opening round of the state championship golf tournament Tuesday at the University of Maryland golf course for 1A/2A schools.
Collectively, however, there was plenty for the defending state-champion Mustangs to be proud of.
With all four of the team’s scorers shooting 81 or better, Marriotts Ridge compiled a team total of 315 to take a commanding 29-stroke lead over Poolesville (344) in the 1A/2A team competition heading into Wednesday’s final round. The Mustangs’ total was also three shots better than Churchill, which was the top team during Monday’s 3A/4A opening round with a 318 total.
But for a Marriotts Ridge team that saw defending individual state-champion Bennett Buch open with an eight-over par round of 79 and top girl Rachel Lee fire a 77, good simply didn’t feel good enough.
“It’s a situation where these kids hold themselves to an extremely high standard. They expect the best out of themselves and, really, that’s how you get the program to the point we’re at right now,” Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs. “Me, I’m extremely proud of them for putting up the team score that they did. I just think they wanted to be closer to the lead for the individual titles.”
The other scorers for Marriotts Ridge in the team competition were Nick Mejia (78) and Jackson Courtney (81). In addition, two of the team's individuals that were competing — Lauren Kim (77) and Michael Dorsch (79) — also qualified for the final round.
Overall, the scores for the 1A/2A schools were much higher than those of the 3A/4A schools the previous day, where Glenelg’s Steven Segrist and Wootton’s Justin Feldman were out in front with matching 73s for the boys and Atholton’s Bryana Nguyen fired a sizzling 66 to snag the lead for the girls.
In 1A/2A, the top girls scores were the 77s posted by Lee and Kim. Mejia’s 78 tied him for the top boys score.
When the tournament resumes on Wednesday, the golfers from all four classifications will be combined to compete for one individual boys and one individual girls title. That means Lee and Kim, for example, find themselves 11 shots back of Nguyen's lead.
“You look at the scores and I think it just gives you that much more respect for what Bryana did yesterday,” Dubbs said. “You almost have to play out of your mind to put up a score like that with the way the course is playing.”
Buch, who opened with a 3-under-par round of 68 last year on his way to eventually securing the boys title, started his first round this fall on the wrong foot and never really recovered. He bogeyed No. 1 and then double bogeyed No. 3 to quickly start 3-over par.
And on the occasions later in the day when things went right, like birdies on Nos. 9 and 13, he gave the shots right back on the following hole with a bogey or double bogey.
Mejia looked destined to post a nice number after making back-to-back birdies on his 15th and 16th holes to get to 3-over overall. But he stumbled home with a bogey and triple bogey.
Lee’s troubles came during the middle of her round, where she played one six-hole stretch in 5-over par. She didn’t make her first birdie until the end of her back nine.
Kim shot even par on her front nine, before shooting 7-over on the back. She had one three-hole stretch that she played in 5-over par.
Oakland Mills’ Samyra Lewis was among the other golfers to qualify for the final day of action. The cut for 1A/2A schools was 90 for the boys and 93 for the girls.