Tigers good enough on tough course

MANASSAS PARK — Members of Brentsville’s golf team were willing to admit they didn’t have a great day during Monday’s Bull Run District tournament. Even one of their top players, Jason Baillargeon, said his day wasn’t very good either.

Maybe it didn’t feel very good, but the results tell another story. Despite some difficult conditions on a difficult course, the Tigers won the district title by eight strokes over Rappahannock County, a good day even if the numbers didn’t say so. Baillargeon was the top Tiger golfer on the day, taking second place with an 83.

For being one of the district’s top two teams, Baillargeon and the rest of the Tigers are automatically qualified for next week’s Region B championships.

The tournament was held at General’s Ridge in Manassas Park, a challenging par-70 course that was made even tougher by morning winds. By the time many of the players had made the turn, the wind had slowed, but the beaming sun warmed things up — also not easy, given the sometimes steep climbs on the course’s hilly layout.

“It’s a difficult course,” said Tigers coach Dale Felten. “The fairways are tight, and the winds were gusty this morning, and that raised havoc with the whole field. All the numbers were inflated.”

Rappahannock’s Brian Taylor finished two strokes better than Baillargeon to earn the individual championship. But Brentsville, on the whole, was just a bit better than Rappahannock: Of the four best scores that counted for the team championship, the Tigers’ highest was an 87.

Besides Baillargeon, Brentsville’s Dan Easley beat teammate Rico Palma in a playoff to take fifth place. Both golfers finished with an 86. Denis Desloge rounded out the Tigers’ top four with an 87.

Felten believes 320 will be the magic number for his team next week in regionals.

“We’ve shot below 320 four or five times this year, and we were as low as 306,” Felten explained. “Regionals will be very difficult, there are a lot of experienced teams, and we’ll have to get back under 320.”

Baillargeon may not have had his best day, but things could have been worse. He saved par on the par-4 11th. His tee shot went well to the left, resting on a barren area under trees next to the cart path. Baillargeon’s second shot went straight, landing closer to the green but in a similar position as his first shot.

He got on track with his third shot, sticking his approach eight feet from the pin. He then sank the putt to save par.

“This course demands straight shots, and that you’re on with your putter,” Baillargeon said.

Not all of his shots were that dire, however. On the 490-yard 15th — a par-5 — Baillargeon reached the green in two. His eagle putt just missed, but Baillargeon was able to tap in for birdie. Two holes later, on the par-3 17th, Baillargeon landed his tee shot within 12 feet of the hole.

That wasn’t far from the shot of Rappahannock’s Michael Fairbrother, one of Baillargeon’s three partners. Fairbrother’s shot was a bit closer, but he finished with a round of 85 to take fourth place.

George Mason’s Nick Hurwit was the top individual qualifier. He finished third after shooting an 84.

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