It could be a banner day for Kanawha Valley teams Wednesday at the state golf tournament in Wheeling.
George Washington (Class AAA) and Winfield (AA) lead their respective divisions following Tuesday’s opening round of the two-day, 36-hole event at the Oglebay Resort’s par-71 Jones Course.
The Patriots are five shots up on Cabell Midland and Woodrow Wilson in AAA, while the Generals hold a six-shot advantage on Herbert Hoover in AA. Defending Class A champion St. Marys is five strokes ahead of Wheeling Central in the small-school division.
GW seeks its first state title since 2018. The defending champ in AAA, Wheeling Park, is certainly not out of the mix even though it’s in fifth place, sitting only 11 shots back of GW.
“We were resilient today,’’ GW coach B.J. Calabrese said in a telephone interview. “I’m pleased, but I would have liked to have played better. It’s going to take a real good mental effort on both nines tomorrow, but we’re in position to do it. It’s a packed field right now, and any number of teams can potentially win it.’’
In the individual races, Cameron Jarvis (Cabell Midland) tops the AAA leaderboard with a 7-over 78, with three players just a single shot back — Austin Willard (GW), Jack Hayes (Oak Hill) and Zan Hill (Woodrow Wilson).
Tanner Vest (Shady Spring) leads AA with a 79, one stroke up on Bryson Beaver (Hoover) and Noah Broadwater (Keyser). In Class A, Brandon Lawhon (St. Marys) fired a 9-over 80 for the day’s best round in that division. Tied for second behind him are a pair of Wheeling Central golfers at 82 — Justin Doerr and Ryan Costanzo. Charleston Catholic’s Warner Murad shot a 90 and is tied for 11th.
The final round is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, with the last foursomes teeing off at 10:27. The forecast calls for a high of 81 in Wheeling, with a 24% chance of rain and light winds.
Challenging weather conditions often plague the state tournament, but Tuesday’s opening round was marred only by a 40-plus-minute fog delay at the outset. Calabrese said the course conditions changed as the round unfolded.
“The course was damp, and the greens slightly slower with the early start times,’’ Calabrese said, “and then the greens started to speed up a little bit. You have to adjust mid-course to the changing speed of the greens.
“We really had two goals entering the first round — No. 1, not to shoot ourselves out of it, because you can lose it, honestly, on the first day. You can’t win it on the first day, but you can lose it. Also, starting on the back nine, which can be more difficult, I thought our course management was really good. I wasn’t as pleased with our course management on the front nine ... but it is what it is. We have the lead, and we’re in position to play with the top teams tomorrow.’’
Besides Willard, GW’s scorers included Mario Palumbo (81), Anderson Goldman (83) and Sam Alderman (90). Teams play four individuals, and the three best scores comprise the team total.
“Austin Willard was on the par train today,’’ Calabrese said. “I think he had eight holes in a row of just pars. Kids like to get birdies, and I understand that, but my concern is that we don’t get double-bogeys. I’ve told them there’s nothing wrong with par on any hole here.’’
Hurricane stands in sixth in the AAA team standings, 14 shots back of the leader. Tanner Sutphin and Nash Vincent each shot 83s for the Redskins.
In Class AA, Winfield and Hoover were tied at 17-over for the team lead through nine holes, but the Generals made up ground on their next nine.
“I think it’s interesting,’’ said Winfield coach Dean Bowers. “We had a few struggles today, but it seemed like every time one or two guys started struggling, somebody else seemed to step up and carry their water for them. They were always complementing each other well. I guess that’s the definition of a true team.’’
Stephen McDavid led Winfield’s crew by shooting an 81, followed by Jackson Woodburn (85), Christian Dagostine (86) and Andrew Johnson (89). They’re all in the top 13 heading into the final round.
“All we can really do tomorrow is take it as it comes,’’ Bowers said. “I’ve got to believe that where today Stephen really rose to the top, I’d like to believe everyone else has that sort of game in them somewhere. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them have a better day than they did today.’’
Shady Spring, which won last year’s state crown, stands in third, 14 strokes behind Winfield.
Hoover’s Beaver had the individual lead in AA at the halfway mark Tuesday, but saw Vest grab a one-shot edge by the end of the round. Other scorers for the Huskies included Max Bowen (87), Sawyer Osbourn (91) and Sam Phillips (95). All four were in the top 20 on Tuesday.
“Bryson started well,’’ said Huskies coach Eddie Gray. “Actually, we all started good. It was just that a couple holes on the back nine bit us — and that’s Oglebay. That happens. We just have to overcome that tomorrow.
“We have a number in mind for tomorrow, but I’m not going to say if we hit this [we’ll win], because anything can happen. We just need to go out and play our best golf. We really did not play our best today. We’re better than we shot today, and we have to go out there and do that tomorrow.’’