JAMES CITY — Brian O’Dea admitted he left Williamsburg National Golf Club disappointed last year following Western Albemarle’s fifth-place performance at the VHSL Class 3 state golf tournament.
The junior golfer was all smiles Tuesday as he led the Warriors to a third-place finish in the state tournament. Western Albemarle (315) finished behind Independence (294) and perennial state powerhouse Abingdon (305) in the team competition.
O’Dea carded a 3-over-par 75 to finish eighth overall, 12 strokes better than last year’s performance.
“Last year, I don’t think we were ready,” O’Dea said. “I think we prepared a lot better this year as a team.”
The results were evident.
O’Dea shot a 1-under-par 35 on the back 9, including four birdies, to finish the tournament strong. O’Dea said he tried not to think about last year’s round on the Jamestown Course at Williamsburg National Golf Club.
“I knew I improved a lot from last year and I prepared well,” O’Dea said. ”I wasn’t hitting it that great, but I knew that I didn’t need a perfect day ball striking to play well.”
The Western Albemarle junior was pleased with his effort.
“I think it all just came together,” O’Dea said. “My game was a little bit loose on the front 9, but I just kind of brought it in and started playing better.”
Luke Vance also had a solid showing for Western Albemarle. The Warriors’ No. 2 golfer carded a 79, including a 2-over-par 38 on the back 9 to finish tied for 14th overall. He birdied No. 13 and No. 14 and improved five strokes from last year’s state tournament.
Western Albemarle golf coach Darren Maynard was impressed.
“He’s been our leader all year,” Maynard said. “Everybody kind of feeds off him and how he plays. He’s come up big for us all year. He really came up big for us a lot last year [too].”
The Warriors received strong contributions from several of their younger golfers, too. John Bond posted an 80 and Sam Stoke finished with an 81 as Western Albemarle finished with a total score of 315. Ben Winslow (82) and Jack Crombie (86) also represented the Warriors.
Maynard, who’s guided the Warriors to three state golf championships, couldn’t be prouder of this group’s effort.
“I was pretty pleased with how they played,” Maynard said. “You can’t play defense in golf, so we can’t control a team that can shoot 294. We did our thing and I thought we did pretty well.”
With a junior, three sophomores and two freshmen competing in Tuesday’s state meet, Maynard believes his team could be pretty special in the coming years.
“The future is pretty bright,” Maynard said. “This could be a great learning experience for us to try and come back next year and improve in a few spots.”
Lord Botetourt (319) finished fourth, followed by Wilson Memorial (330), Lafayette (353), Southampton (355) and William Monroe (371).
Fluvanna’s Killian Donnelly made some history Tuesday as he became the first player in program history to earn all-state honors. The freshman shot a 2-over-par 74 in the second-to-last group of the day to finish tied for sixth with Grace Addison of Abingdon.
After double bogeying his first hole, Donnelly rebounded with a birdie on the sixth hole. He rebounded with a strong nine final holes, including birdies on three of the final five holes.
“I didn’t play very well, to be honest,” Donnelly said. “I made four birdies on the Back 9, but I played the front really bad, but getting three birdies, it was a good way to finish.”
Donnelly said the experience is one he won’t soon forget.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I wish I would’ve done a little better. Seventh is a getable score, but it was a good experience.”
William Monroe, the Northwestern District champion, finished eighth.
Shane Coleman paced the Greene Dragons with a score of 87. Grant Woodson finished with an 88, followed by Hunter Shifflett (94), Blake Shifflett (102), Landon Morris (103) and Ryan Turner (109).
Patriots finish seventh
The Albemarle golf team finished seventh during Tuesday’s VHSL Class 5 state tournament at Magnolia Green Golf Course in Richmond.
Vivian Hui shot an 8-over-par 80 to lead the Patriots. The freshman birdied No. 6 and No. 13 in her first state tournament appearance.
Robert Brozey carded an 81, followed by Jack Kelly (88), Mia Liang (91), Aaron Farmer (94) and Adam Turner (98).
Deep Run shot a 303 to edge Douglas Freedom (309) for the overall team title. Riverside (320) finished third, followed by Freedom (321), Cox (328), Hickory (331), Albemarle (340) and Stafford (353).
Riverside’s Rohan Saxena shot a 1-under 71 to edge Douglas Freeman’s Grant Miller (72) and Manchester’s Zach Valdes (72) for individual medalists honors.