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Golf: Loudoun County Advances to Second Straight State Tournament

You know that old playoff adage: survive and advance? Well that approach rang true once again for Loudoun County at the Virginia AA Region II golf tournament on Wednesday in Front Royal.

On a blustery day at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, the Raiders were able to survive less than ideal conditions and a rare high score from their top player to finish second and advance to next week's state tournament.

Loudoun County - which surprised everyone when they upended host Western Albemarle last fall to take the region crown - fought through the wind to post a 320. Senior Jon Youst and junior Andrew Brenneman both shot 79 and Kevin Cook and Michael Linville carded 81s to cover for Dulles District champion Brantley Kushner's season-high 88.

"Conditions were tough," Loudoun County Coach John Laycock said. "There's probably nothing harder to play in than wind. It requires a lot of mental toughness to play in those kinds of conditions. We didn't do as well as we have, but that's understandable. It's called survive and advance, and that's really what we did."

Western Albemarle reclaimed the tournament title with a 310 team total and the Warriors own Patrick Leisure won the individual tournament with a 1-over 72.

Next up for the Raiders is a trip to Williamsburg National for their second consecutive state tournament appearance. No one on the team has played the course, other than Laycock, who says it features fairways that wind through trees and plenty of sand.

"It's a very typical tidewater golf course, but it's fair" he said. "I don't think it's as tricked up as some golf courses are, so they should be able to manage it pretty well."

Loudoun County - which finished seventh at last year's state tournament - will play a practice round Sunday before taking the course for the two-day 36-hole tournament starting Monday morning. Laycock expects last year's experience to help the team contend with some of the best high school golfers in Virginia.

"I think last year will help us immensely," Laycock said. "Going down there last year, we were predominantly sophomores. I just looked at some of the other teams that were so much more physically mature than we were. But my kids have grown up. They've gotten a little bigger, a little stronger, a little smarter and they saw what it was like last year. They know that there are some players down there.

"It's exciting to be able to compete at that level and hopefully succeed. We're just anxious to get down there and see where we stand."

By Matt Brooks  |  October 8, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  AA Dulles , Golf , Loudoun County High School , Region II  
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