Any whispers that the Langley Saxons might not be good enough to continue their long streak of dominance in the Liberty District golf tournament this season were silenced in the first round of the 36-hole event.
The Saxons carded a 287 team score on the Herndon Centennial Golf Course in the opening round of the event to build a 21-shot lead en route to winning with a 287-296–583 total. The Yorktown Patriots were a distant second at 308-309–617, with the McLean Highlanders a close third (311-311–622).
The district crown was the ninth in a row for Langley and 14th in the past 15 seasons.
“We were all real excited to play yesterday and play well in the first round,” said Langley junior Andrew Hwang, who shot 70-77–147 to finish fourth individually. “It’s always fun to win, and we don’t want to be the players that have this streak end.”
Longtime Langley coach Al Berg emphasized to his players that it was important to establish a big first-round lead. He has coached the team for 27 seasons.
“I told them we could build such an edge, and they responded by playing very well in the first round,” Berg said. “Still, they are golfers and they all felt they left shots out there and could have scored better.”
Langley was led by individual champion Alina Ho. The senior and Virginia Tech commit shot a 2-under 69-71–140. Her teammate Catherine Qiu was second at 70-74–143.
“Alina is always our rock,” Berg said.
Ho was happy to win both individual and team titles, but was unhappy she did not have lower individual scores.
“The main focus was for the team to win, and we did that,” Ho said. “Overall I hit the ball well, but my putting wasn’t my best. I even missed a one-foot putt. I shot a 66 here last year [in this tournament] and I wanted to do at least that again.”
Also for Langley, Shakthi Pattariaman shot 80-79–159. The other Langley players only played 18 holes as Berg alternated players. In the first round, Sophie Cao shot 76 and Jake Stansbury 78. In the second, Alexa Green shot 75 and Emily Wang 79. Cao’s score was later disqualified from the team scoring because she inadvertently teed off on one hole from the wrong tee box.
Leading McLean was sixth-place finisher Max Vadas at 73-76–149. Kyle Li shot 78-77–155, Lauren Wood 78-79–157, J.T. Deevy 82-79–161, Olivia Wood 85-79–164 and Colin Manzel 89-79–168. All six McLean golfers shot in the 70s the second round.
McLean also finished third last season.
For the fifth-place Marshall Statesmen (328-331–659) Dylan Shutello shot 79-82–161, Harris Lechtman 78-84–162, Carter Stone 82-82–164 and Owen McCarton 89-83–172.
The top three teams advance to the 6D North Region tournament along with Shutello, Stone and Lechtman. Langley also is the defending region and state champion.
NOTE: During the awards ceremony, tournament director and McLean High School director of student activities Greg Miller paid tribute to longtime Langley head coach Al Berg, who is retiring after this season and has led the team to multiple district, region and state championships. Berg has coached the team for 27 years. Miller recognized his longevity and success.