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Bushey shines as Leopards earn state bid

September 22, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

Smithsburg senior Chris Bushey got his hair buzzed about three weeks ago. With it now beginning to regrow and take some shape, he likes the new look.

What he likes even more is the round of golf he threw down on Tuesday at the Maryland Class 2A/1A District 1 Tournament at Black Rock Golf Course.

Bushey easily claimed medalist honors with a fabulous 6-under 66, the best round of his young career.

"Wow, I think I made everything putting," said Bushey, who offset a pair of bogeys with eight birdies, including three straight on the back nine.

Middletown's Alex Hoffman, the two-time defending medalist who shot a 1-over 73, was impressed.

"My hat's off to Chris. ... He got on the greens and you knew he was going to make it," said Hoffman.

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Bushey led Smithsburg to a state tournament berth as the Leopards finished second with 313 strokes, just two behind Middletown. Liberty, with a 320, was the other qualifying team, while the top 13 boys who weren't part of a qualifying team advanced as did any girls shooting 86 or better.

The 2A/1A state tournament will be held at Potomac Ridge in Waldorf, Md., on Oct. 20-21.

Smithsburg's A.J. Minnich (79), Kyle Huntzberry (80) and Matt Snowden (88) came through in the clutch to help Smithsburg gain a second straight trip and the school's fifth overall to states.

"I had a goal of 320 team strokes, so I'm surprised at what the guys did today," said Smithsburg coach Dan Neff. "I really felt we had a chance. They've been flirting with these scores."

Washington County will be represented by Williamsport's Zach Weber (77) and North Hagerstown's Aaron Staley (79) and Becky Gossard (82) as individuals at states.

What made Bushey's round all the more amazing was his 1-over start after two holes, both usually considered good birdie opportunities.

He got his motor running on the par 5 third when he chipped in for a birdie.

"That got me back to even and I thought about just getting a couple of birdies along the way," said Bushey.

He had two more on the front along with a bogey and made the turn on the 6,333-yard layout at 2-under 34, one shot in front of Hoffman.

The back nine was error-free. It started on No. 10 with a 35-foot putt for birdie, followed by two pars.

Bushey followed with three birdies in succession. On 13, he knocked a 185-yard shot into the wind 15 feet from the cup. On the par-5 14th, his approach stopped within 2 feet of the flag and on the par-3 15th, he dropped an iron to within 10 feet -- all for one-putt birdies.

"That was as solid a three holes I've ever had," said Bushey. "I've never had a whole round like this putting. I read the lines real well and my putts had a good pace."

"(Chris) eats, sleeps and breathes golf 24/7," said Neff. "He was the first person on the driving range at 7:10 Tuesday morning at Beaver Creek before going to the tournament."

Weber will be making a second trip to the state, feeling fortunate after his round.

"I couldn't get a thing going," he said. "I just played bad, but I'm glad to go back."

Staley will be the first golfer from Washington County to compete as a freshman as an individual since South Hagerstown's Robbie Suddith in 2005.

"The state was definitely a goal and I'm happy, but I had to scramble," said Staley.

Meanwhile, Gossard will make it 3-for-3 in state tournaments, hoping to break through like Smithsburg's Haeun Lee did last year by winning the title.

"I've been practicing more and I'm going to keep working harder in the next month," Gossard said, crediting teachers Bill Hoffman and Dave Grier and her dad, Andy, for "keeping my mind on golf."

Maryland 2A/1A District 1 Tournament

at Black Rock, par 72

Top 3 teams qualify for states

Middletown 311, Smithsburg 313, Liberty 320, North Carroll 323, Winters Mill 332, Century 334, Walkersville 334, North Hagerstown 343, Boonsboro 346, South Carroll 351, Northern Garrett 352, Williamsport 354, Southern Garrett 359, Catoctin 364, Manchester Valley 374, Brunswick 387, Francis Scott Key 389, Clear Spring 390, Fort Hill 396, Mountain Ridge 432.

Area schools scoring

x-indicates individual qualifiers for states

Smithsburg: Chris Bushey 66, A. J. Minnich 79, Kyle Huntzberry 80, Matt Snowden 88, Logan McSherry 118.

North: x-Aaron Staley 79, x-Becky Gossard 82, Connor Spessard 87, Sam Robinson 95, Jason Moody 101.

Boonsboro: Jeremy Hardy 84, Jesse Mendez 84, Troy Hartle 90, Tyler Thompson 90, Adam Schofield 91.

Williamsport: x-Zach Weber 77, Scot Drury 84, Adam Eichelberger 96, Chris Karr 97, Ryan Crabtree 104.

Clear Spring: Brian Lesher 94, Tyler Brown 98, Zach Johnson 98, Kyle Shanholtz 102, Nick Hill 118.

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