The Botetourt Country Club will be the site of the annual Bob McLelland Metro Golf Tournament on Thursday. All the top high school teams from the area, including Lord Botetourt and James River, will be competing over 18 holes for the championship.
This is a change from past years, when the Metro was a 36-hole tournament held over two days on two courses. This year the Botetourt Country Club was the only area course to welcome the high school golfers.
“No one else said they could afford to give up two hours of tee times,” said James River coach John Shotwell, who has been a member at the Botetourt Country Club since the ‘60s. “I think that’s ridiculous.”
Shotwell notes that the high school players of today are the paying customers of tomorrow, and credits BCC with continuing support of the young players.
“They’ve been supportive of me and my team since I’ve been coach,” he said. “The Roanoke Valley has been top notch when it comes to high school golf. We’ve had a lot of kids go on to play in college and they’ve done well. It’s hard to believe we can’t find another course around here who will let the kids play for a couple hours.”
The Botetourt Country Club is in terrific shape, maybe the best it’s ever been.
“I would say so,” said Shotwell. “The course looks gorgeous. They’ve put in a lot of flowers and new sand. It’s beautiful.”
The Metro is viewed as the kickoff for the high school season, but both LB and River have already participated in matches. Both schools played in the Heritage Invitational on Monday and LB played two district matches last week. In fact, Botetourt has a 31-stroke lead in the Blue Ridge District season tournament and it’s just the second week of August.
“There’s still a long way to go, but I’d rather be 31 strokes up than 31 behind,” said LB coach Todd Smith. “It’s early. Everyone can play a lot better.”
The 90-hole Blue Ridge District season opened last week when all five teams played a round at the Ashley Plantation, which is Botetourt’s home course. The homestanding Cavaliers won the round with a team score of 301, 27 strokes better than second place Northside. Alleghany was third with 339 and William Byrd and Staunton River both shot 341.
Andrew Long had Botetourt’s best score with a 73, and that tied Dylan Wright of Northside for medalist. Other LB scores included Austin Broyles at 75, Ben Matthias at 76, and Lyndsey Hunnell and Justin Nichols at 77 each.
“I was very pleased that we could put five in the 70s,” said Smith.
Last Thursday at the Alleghany Country Club, Botetourt increased the lead with a 308, followed by Northside’s 312. Smith was somewhat wary of the Alleghany course.
“They’re going to close down before long and the course wasn’t in very good shape,” he said. “That was one I was worried about.”
Matthias had a 76 to lead LB in this one, followed by Hunnell and Nichols with 77 each and Long at 78. Broyles and Kris Hoffman both shot 82.
After two rounds, Botetourt leads Northside 609-640. Byrd improved to 316 at Alleghany and moved into third at 657, followed by Alleghany at 662 and Staunton River at 673.
Lacy Broughman of Alleghany was medalist at the Alleghany Country Club with a 69, and he took over first place individually with a 36-hole score of 147. Brandon Bailey of Byrd is second at 149 after shooting even par at Alleghany and Botetourt has the next two best 36-hole scores with Long at 151 and Matthias at 152.
Next week the BRD tour goes to Mariners’ Landing in Moneta as Staunton River hosts the district on Tuesday.
Botetourt and River both played in the Heritage Invitational on Monday at the par 72 hole London Downs Golf Course in Lynchburg. Botetourt was eighth among 24 teams and River finished 21st.
Cave Spring won the big time event with a score of 315, followed by Franklin County, Hidden Valley and Jefferson Forest with 317 each. Botetourt was just five strokes back at 320.
Hunnell, a freshman, had a 77 for LB’s best score. Broyles shot 79, Nichols had 81, and Long rounded out the scoring with an 83.
Korey Watts, a sophomore, led River with a 76. He was even par through 10 holes.
“And then the TV cameras showed up, and I think that made him a little nervous,” said Shotwell.
Other scorers for River were Irina Boothe at 86, Tyler Duke at 97 and Luke Arney at 113.
“We had some people playing their first high school match,” said Shotwell. “They’ll get better.”
The Knights were at Bath County Tuesday but results were too late for publication. Next Tuesday, Aug. 17, River is at Parry McCluer.