BRISTOL, Va. — Washington County, Virginia had a Washington County, Tennessee feel to it on Monday at The Virginian Golf Club.
Science Hill senior Peter Chang and Daniel Boone senior Haley Wagner recorded victories in the 18-under divisions of the Tri-Cities PGA Junior Amateur Championship.
Chang shot a 74 to beat Kingsport’s Drake Crawford by two strokes. Wagner birdied No. 18 to finish with an even-par 72, seven shots better than Kingsport’s Haverly Harrold.
Chase Roswall (Bristol) set a tournament record from the blue tees while shooting a 64 to win the 13-15-year-old division.
Chang wasn’t firing at any pins down the stretch, certainly not after James Beckner (78) quadruple-bogeyed No. 13 and Nic Vandeventer (77) double-bogeyed No. 14. Kingsport’s Beckner, fresh off a U.S. Junior National appearance, and Vandeventer (Bristol) were in the final group with Chang. Crawford was in the next-to-last group.
Chang, a member at The Virginian, also played in a tournament there Saturday and Sunday, and it was his fifth competitive round in as many days.
“I came in pretty confident,” Chang said. “I mean, I played not so great yesterday, but I found a swing fix. And so I was hitting the ball okay, but I was putting great. So I just pretty much played conservative all day. I just didn’t really try to go after anything, just make pars.
“I played in the Junior Club Championship here this past weekend. They had it, actually, a lot harder. The greens were faster and the pins were tougher. So to me, today was easy.”
Chang said it was beneficial having former Hilltoppers teammate Steven Wang on hand to caddie, which meant occasionally offering strategy and frequently cracking jokes. It helped keep the mood light while playing in the talented trio.
“This is Nic’s home course also … and the James is a good player,” Chang said. “He just went to the U.S. Junior. So I knew he was gonna be a strong competitor.”
Wagner was confident she could improve on last year’s runner-up finish, at least until she made double bogey on the first hole.
“I had six birdies today, though,” she said. “I rolled in a couple of long putts that I wasn’t supposed to make.”
Her most gratifying putt was perhaps a 20-footer on No. 7.
“It was up a ridge and broke about five feet to the right,” Wagner said. “It was a miracle putt. I don’t know how I made it. …
“I just played my game, just went out there and hit fairways, greens. I am privileged enough I’ve gotten to come out here a few times and practice. This is the second time I’ve played in this tournament … so I was hoping to come out here and get a win.”
Andrew Spiegler (Abingdon, Va.) shot a 68 for what would’ve previously been good enough for a tournament record. Alas, thanks to Roswall’s blistering putter, Spiegler’s low round was good for a distant second.
“I think I missed, like, one green, and I was just rolling in every putt I looked at,” Roswall said. “It was fun. … I probably had 23 or 22 (putts). … I was just on fire with the putter.”
Roswall was playing with Jonesborough’s Jack Rhea, who tied for fourth with a 75, and Kingsport’s Eddie Karst (80, seventh-place tie). Eventually, it was something akin to Roswall having a no-hitter going.
“At some point I was nervous from not wanting to hit a bad shot,” Roswall said. “They were rooting me on the whole time.”
Spiegler and Kingsport’s William Nottingham, who shot 70 to finish third, were right behind Roswall in the final group. And understandably they were feeling pretty good about things as the round unfolded.
“We’re good friends,” Roswall said. “They told me they were 4-under and 2-under, and I just kept a straight face and just focused.”
Johnson City’s Quinton Sampsel, Caden Sampsel and Lucas Lowe finished 1-2-3, respectively, in the 8-9-year-old division. Jackson Skeen (Gray) finished third in the 10-13-year-old division.
Dillon Moore (Greeneville) shot a 36 to win the 10-11-year-old field, and Addie Baggarly (Jonesborough) finished third in the girls division.