The first day of the state golf tournament is about putting yourself in position to win, and Monday at the University of Maryland golf course that's exactly what the county’s top golfers did.
Centennial’s Connor Flach and Wilde Lake’s Tyler Silberberg, the county’s top two individual scorers during the regular season, each shot 71 to put them in a tie for second behind Walt Whitman’s Andrew Barth (69). On the girls side, Atholton’s Bryana Nguyen fired a 73 to earn a tie for first with Wooton’s duo of Allison Wong and Delaney Shah.
All of the 3A/4A golfers will now have a day off while the 1A/2A golfers play their first round on Tuesday. Those who make the cut will then compete Wednesday for the state championship.
“You don’t win the tournament on the first day, but you can definitely lose it,” Flach said. “The goal is to shoot something around par to give yourself a chance to go at it the final day.”
In the 3A/4A team competition, Wilde Lake was the county’s only school to make the cut. The Wildecats, making the program’s first trip to the state tournament as a team, finished with a 317 total to sit in a tie for fifth. Atholton ended up with a total of 333, missing the cut by nine.
Wooton, which features three girls among its four starters, is currently in first with a total of 306.
Individually, however, the county has positioned itself well.
While Flach and Silberberg ended up tied at the end of the day, the two got there with two completely different rounds.
Flach was the model of consistency, hitting 17 of the 18 greens in regulation. He started his day with 10 straight pars, before making two birdies and two bogeys over his final eight holes.
“I was just trying to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens … keep myself out of trouble,” Flach said. “I had a lot of good putts that were just hanging on the edge, so I had to stay patient. Luckily I made most of my four-to-six footers to keep myself from making too many bogeys.”
Silberberg, on the other hand, underwent a rollercoaster of emotions.
His round included an eagle, four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey. The toughest part was that, thanks to a bogey on No. 4 and a double bogey on No. 5, Silberberg put himself in a hole at the very beginning.
“When you’re 3-over thru five all you’re thinking about is ‘How can I get myself back to even?’ ” Silberberg said. “It’s definitely frustrating to start like that, but it’s a long tournament. There are plenty of birdie holes out here.”
Silberberg found one of those birdies on No. 6 and that seemed to steady the ship slightly heading into the back nine.
He made a quick birdie on the tenth hole, gave the stroke back with a bogey on No. 11 and then parred No. 12. It was on No. 13, however, that things really got going.
His second shot into the par 5 lipped out for double eagle and he then tapped in to get back to one-over for the day.
“That eagle was what really did it for me. I was having trouble fighting back and that got me two shots right there … it was like offsetting my double bogey,” said Silberberg, who ended up later making birdies on Nos. 16 and 17.
At two strokes behind the leader, Silberberg is in the exact same spot he was at the midway point of last year’s state tournament. After an opening day 71, he followed that up with another even-par day to win the championship by three.
“It’s my senior states and I just want to have a chance at it,” Silberberg said. “After a sloppy start, I’m right there again.”
Wilde Lake’s team also still has a shot, sitting 11 strokes back. Behind Silberberg, David Yancich (78), Rafey Iqbal (82) and Joe Boccher (86) rounded out the team’s scoring.
For Nguyen, there were definitely missed opportunities on the way to her two-over-par round. But after sitting six shots back following the first round of last year’s event, the Atholton junior wasn’t complaining about her position heading into the final day this time around.
“Nothing really special today, definitely not my best, but I’ve still put myself in position,” said Nguyen, who opened with a 76 last year. “My goal was to shoot a score where I can still come out Wednesday and play my game, so when you look at it that way two-over is a pretty good score.”
Nguyen ended up carding two birdies, on No. 7 and No. 11, offset by four bogeys, on Nos. 1, 9, 12 and 17. She has finished second in the season-ending event each of her first two years in high school.
4A/3A team scores: 1. Wooton 306; 2. Urbana, 312; 2. Northern, 312; 4. Walt Whitman, 313; 5. Wilde Lake, 317; 5. North Point, 317; 7. Stephen Decatur, 321; 8. Bel Air, 324.
Boys individuals: 1. Andrew Barth, Walt Whitman, 69; 2. Connor Flach, C, 71; 2. Tyler Silberberg, WL, 71; 4. Jon Moles, Urbana, 72; 5. Luke Schaap, Churchill, 73; 6. Pat Moriarty, Rockville, 75; 6. Tony Reichert, Northern, 75; 6. Evan Shapiro, Walter Johnson, 75; 6. Nathan Tenpas, B-CC, 75; 6. Ryan Woodward, Urbana, 75.
Girls individuals: 1. Bryana Nguyen, A, 73; 1. Delaney Shah, Wootton, 73; 1. Allison Wong, Wootton, 73; 4. Haley Carr, North Point, 76; 5. Jordan McKelvin, Westminster, 78; 6. Hanna Jia, Churchill, 81; 6. Jane Moon, Dulaney, 81; 8. KK Raffensperger, B-CC, 82; 9. Graysen Bright, Wootton, 84; 10. Christina Dizon, Severna Park, 86.