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Bushey gets in the swing

All-County Golf

All-County Golf

December 06, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

As a freshman on the Smithsburg golf team, Chris Bushey shot in triple digits. He had begun to learn playing golf only one year earlier at the urging of his grandfather.

Fast forward and the 6-foot-2 senior has come full circle.

As his game continued to improve during his sophomore and junior years, he was in the shadow of teammate Haeun Lee, the Washington County Golfer of the Year two years running.

However, 2009 belonged to Bushey.

Far removed from when he posted a 103 score in his first Washington County Public Schools tournament, Bushey has sliced as much as 37 strokes from that beginning.

In September, Bushey fashioned a record-setting District 1 6-under par-66 at Black Rock to lead his team into another qualifying position at the Maryland State Tournament.

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"With the exception of Alex (Middletown's Alex Hoffman), nobody thought anyone from Washington County could shoot that kind of round," said Bushey. "I'll never forget it. I loved that day."

He was the No. 1 golfer in the MVAL with an accumulative point total of 136. He averaged 37 strokes per nine holes.

With his accomplishments, Bushey is The Herald-Mail All-County Golfer of the Year.

"I call him 'Icewater,'" said Smithsburg coach Dan Neff. "It's in his veins. Nothing ever bothers him anymore. He freewheels. It didn't matter what he shot growing up. He became a visual learner of the game. He just makes the shots."

Bushey played soccer in eighth grade but turned to golf and rumbled the grounds at Fountain Head Country Club.

"I really liked the golf atmosphere," said Bushey. "I was out there to see how other people played, watch their emotions and how to deal with stuff."

He was a caddy during the summer at Fountain Head and played in Tri-State Junior Golf Association events. It was apparent he was finding out about himself.

"I didn't have knowledge of the swing fundamentals early on but I thought I could play," said Bushey.

That's where Neff, and Fountain Head assistant pro Brian Boggs came in.

"Coach Neff took me under his wings my freshman year and (Boggs) helped me a lot at Fountain Head," said Bushey.

Bushey followed up his district round by finishing in a tie for seventh in the state tournament after an eighth-place finish as a junior.

"My goal was to win the state individual title and team title, but we didn't, but I'm still happy with the season,"he said.

Bushey is looking into attending Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., a school that has an excellent golf management program.

"I'd like to get into that, become a club pro," he said.

Joining Bushey on the All-County First Team are:

Alex Beckel, Saint James

A sophomore, Beckel led the Saints with a 41-stroke average competing on tough courses. He finished fourth in Mid-Atlantic Conference tournament and was an All-Mid Atlantic Conference pick.

A.J. Minnich, Smithsburg

A senior, Minnich had a 42-stroke average and made great strides since his sophomore season and qualified for the state tournament. First-team All-MVAL.

Aaron Staley, North Hagerstown

A freshman, Staley posted a 40.1-stroke average and made his first state tournament appearance. First-team All-MVAL.

Zach Weber, Williamsport

A senior, Weber makes his second appearance as a first-team selection. Weber had an overall 39-stroke average for the Wildcats and earned a second trip to the state tournament. First-team All-MVAL.

Honorable Mention

North Hagerstown - Becky Gossard, Connor Spessard.

South Hagerstown - Luke Shindle.

Clear Spring - Tyler Brown.

Smithsburg - Kyle Huntzberry.

Boonsboro - Troy Hartle, Adam Schofield.

Williamsport - Scot Drury.

Saint James - Tucker Oelsen.

St. Maria Goretti - Dan Rost.

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