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McKelvin, Hutchinson grab early leads at state golf championship tournament

Westminster's Jordan McKelvin tees off on the sixth hole during the opening round of the state championship golf tournament at the University of Maryland golf course on Monday. McKelvin is in the lead after posting a round of 70.
Westminster's Jordan McKelvin tees off on the sixth hole during the opening round of the state championship golf tournament at the University of Maryland golf course on Monday. McKelvin is in the lead after posting a round of 70. (Kevin Allen /Impact Images)

After three straight top five finishes at the state tournament, Westminster's Jordan McKelvin says she's determined to make this the year she finally breaks through.

So even after starting with a bogey on Monday at the University of Maryland golf course in the opening round of this year's state championship tournament, McKelvin told herself to just stay relaxed.

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"That's my big thing this year, no matter what's happening I'm going to try and remind myself to relax and just worry about the next shot," she said. "I thought today I did a good job of it and even that first hole after I bogeyed I knew I wasn't out of it and bounced right back.

"It's senior year so I really wanted to come out with a bang and start out strong."

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McKelvin ended up bouncing back with back-to-back birdies on her second and third holes and never slowed down the rest of the way en route to an opening round 70 (1-under par) and a five-shot lead over Delaney Shah of Wootton.

The Westminster senior wasn't the only one to come out firing on all cylinders under sunny skies, though, as Walt Whitman sophomore Graham Hutchinson posted a 69 (2-under par) to grab a one-shot lead over Walter Johnson's Taso Scilaris in the boys individual competition.

In the team event, both Walter Johnson and Churchill compiled four-player totals of 299 to set the pace. Wootton is 13 shots back at 312.

The individual cuts were at 83 for the boys and 88 for the girls, representing the top 40 percent and ties of the field for the 3A/4A schools. The 1A/2A schools will play their opening rounds on Tuesday before all the qualifying players are pooled together for the final round on Wednesday.

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Girls individuals

For McKelvin, her round included four birdies, three bogeys and all the rest pars. Many of those pars came at the end, as she made pars on her final six holes to distance herself from the girls field.

"My iron shots were just really solid. I hit 16 of 18 greens (in regulation) and the two I missed I was off the fringe by just a couple feet," she said.

Shah, the runner-up last year to Atholton's Bryana Nguyen, had an up-and-down round that featured a handful of birdies but also a pair of double bogeys. Churchill's Lena Capoccia sits in third after a 79.

Mt. Hebron's Josephine Jung was a co-leader with McKelvin when she walked off the green following her eighth hole at even par for the tournament. But things unraveled quickly for the Vikings' junior.

Jung made a double bogey on her ninth hole, No. 18, and then never managed to get back on track. She finished 10-over on the back nine and 12-over for the day for a total of 83. She is currently in a four-way tie for ninth.

Wilde Lake's Tyler Teachman, who shot an 87, was the only other Howard County female to make the cut. Howard freshman Jackie Cherry (89) and Atholton senior Amanda Petersen (91) were just short.

Boys individuals

Hutchinson's opening round Monday was 10 shots better than his first-day effort last fall (79) as a freshman. He was in control the entire way, birding his third and seventh holes to go with no front-nine bogies to surge into the lead.

"I played solid the first two holes … then birdied the third hole and then just kept playing solid golf from there," Hutchinson said. "It definitely felt a lot different than last year for me, from my emotions to my thought process out on the course. I've become a much more solid all around player."

Even when he did stumble, like the bogey he made on No. 10, Hutchinson had an answer. He followed that initial hiccup with a birdie on the 11th hole and later, after a bogey on No. 14, he birdied the par 5 16th.

"I'm definitely pleased. My goal was to kind of come out and put a good number out there so I could come back Wednesday with a chance to win," Hutchinson said. "I've been playing solid in the postseason so far and today I kept it going."

There's plenty of players nipping at his heels and within striking distance, though. Scilaris is one back, while the Churchill duo of Dylan Rotter and Adam Gray fired even-par rounds of 71 and sit just two back.

In total there are currently 11 guys within five shots of the lead. Included in that group is Glenelg's Steven Segrist, the defending state champion.

Segrist struggled out of the gates, bogeying four of his first seven holes. He regrouped from there, however, to play one-under the rest of the way and post a 74.

"I really just didn't hit it well at the beginning and was leaving myself difficult chips that led to bogies," Segrist said. "After that, I started playing steady like I wanted. I probably could have made a few more birdies coming in, but it was definitely a lot better."

Howard County qualified four other individual boys for the final round. Centennial's Matt McShane (79), Atholton's Max Rosenthal (81) and Chris Robinson (82), and Mt. Hebron's Patrick Hardy (83) all were within the cut line.

Atholton, the lone Howard County team participating in 3A/4A, finished with a 344 total and missed the team cut by 18 shots.

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