LAUREL FORK — Home course advantage paid big dividends for Floyd County on Tuesday.
Playing just 30 miles from their high school campus, the Buffaloes successfully defended their Class 2 state golf title with a winning score of 326 at Olde Mill Golf Club. Floyd County’s total topped runner-up Patrick County by nine strokes.
Leading the Buffaloes’ effort was junior McKenzie Weddle who posted a 1-over round of 73 to finish as state runner-up on the individual side. She credited her past experience on the course for her success on Tuesday.
“I think Olde Mill is always playing really tough. It’s really hilly and has lots of water. I think its just about playing smart,” Weddle said. “Floyd is only about 40 minutes away, so we play here about once a week the entire season and our regional tournament was here, so we’ve had lots of experience around the course and got to know it.”
Weddle came up just one shot shy of top medalist honors as Bruton’s Dylan Olinger went out early in the morning and shot an even par round of 72 for the day’s low score. Weddle said she was unaware of her position on the leaderboard while on the course.
“I didn’t know until I came in. I three-putted 17 so that kind of knocked me out of that, but I don’t think I can be mad about that. I gave it everything and I played really well,” Weddle said.
Floyd County won the state title during last year’s COVID-delayed spring season at the Pete Dye River Course in Radford. The Buffaloes, however, lost five seniors off that squad and had to quickly replenish the roster for another run at a state title.
“A lot of people kind of expected that to hurt us and us not have a chance,” Weddle said. “It’s nice to prove people wrong and show that didn’t hurt us.”
Floyd County head coach Dirk Davis said last year’s squad not only won a state title but created a culture of helping one another that has benefited the newcomers on this year’s team.
“When we played our first match this year, we had three kids that had never played a high school match before,” Davis said. “After we won at the River Course (in the spring) I made the comment that we had 10 really good players on the team and no superstars. I lost five of those but got five of them back. The group we lost taught this group how to be good leaders. They work so hard and they’re so highly motivated to get better.”
Backing up Weddle’s 73 were teammates Ryne Bond (78), Dylan Bonds (81), Corey Powers (94), Kaden Reinhard (101) and JD King (102).
Bond’s 78 was good enough for a fourth-place finish overall.
Patrick County’s runner-up effort was led by Wesley Roberson’s 75, which placed him third overall. The Cougars got another top five performance from David Smith who shot 80 and finished in a tie for fifth with Gate City’s Ethan Dishner.