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Joy for Vannoy: Parkersburg South golfer claims victory at Callaway event

Parkersburg South golfer Parker Vannoy hits out of the bunker on No. 17 Monday at Parkersburg Country Club during the Callaway Junior Tour’s High School Series. Vannoy was overall medalist after shooting 1-under par 72. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

VIENNA — Parker Vannoy will gladly accept the perks of the job.

The sophomore from Parkersburg South claimed medalist honors at the Callaway Junior Tour High School Series after shooting 1-under par 72 at Parkersburg Country Club. With the four-shot margin of victory, Vannoy receives one of the two exemptions being awarded to the overall medalist on the High School Series.

“That’s a huge deal,” Vannoy said. “I’m super excited. I am already thinking about it even though it’s not for another year. (When I turned in my scorecard), I thought there was a very, very good chance it would hold.”

Among the top five individuals scores considered as medalists Monday, Roane County’s Emerson Simons placed in a tie for fourth place at 77. Just in the past two weeks, Simons shot the girls low round at the Callaway Junior Tour’s championship meet at PCC and received medalist honors at the Wirt County Invitational.

“I’m just keeping calm out there on the golf course,” Simons said. “Last year, I would get mad if I had a bad hole and it would blow up my whole round. Today, I just tried to stay calm and remember I have more holes remaining to improve my game.”

With her morning shotgun start beginning on the 10th hole, Simons tossed in two birdies to go with three pars as part of a 2-over 37 on the backside. Minus two bogeys through three holes on the front nine, Simons parred out the rest of the way for a 2-over 38.

Despite her success at this venue, Simons says playing PCC still creates its share of issues.

“Oh my gosh no,” Simons responded when asked if PCC was becoming one of her favorites. “This is the first time I have shot in the 70s here. Today, I hit my irons pretty well. I had some hit-or-miss drives, and my putting from the Callaway Junior Tour championship to today has improved a lot.”

On the strength of two individual medalists (Taylor Sargent and Jack Michael), Cabell Midland turned in the low team score of 236 — three strokes better than runner-up Winfield. Rounding out the top five were Linsly (242), Wheeling Park (244) and Hurricane (248).

On the local front, both Parkersburg South and St. Marys managed a top 10 finish. The Patriots placed eighth at 250, while the Blue Devils tied Herbert Hoover for ninth place at 252. In a format where each team fielded four golfers and scored ther top three individuals, three St. Marys golfers broke 90, including Preston Lawhon placing in a tie for 10th with an 80.

“Parker was our representative at state last year, so we know what he is capable of shooting,” South coach John Badgley said. “The first two (High School Series) tournaments, Parker has set the pace. He also finished third at Edgewood, so those are the type of numbers he is capable of putting up. We are proud of the leadership Parker is setting for the rest of the kids.

“As a whole, we showed a lot of improvement from last year. Since we are so early this year, that’s all we can compare it to — where we were last year and where we are this year. Last year, we had so much youth and I kept saying that every tournament, but what a difference a year makes. We’re competitive and we are on the first page of the leaderboard each tournament we have played so far.”

A majority of Monday’s field will return to action for today’s High School Series stop at Oglebay Country Club in Wheeling.

“We have to get a few strokes better and we are capable of doing that,” Badgley continued. “It’s a great opportunity (Tuesday) to play the course that is the site of the state tournament. And hopefully that first week of October these same kids will be playing on that course and have that opportunity to be playing in the state tournament. At least we hope so.”

Out of a possible 29 teams, Parkersburg’s ‘A’ squad took 16th behind Brielle Milhoan’s team-best 89. Warren (283) followed in 19th place, while Roane County (285) finished 21st. Parkersburg, Parkersburg South and Warren each brought a ‘B’ squad.

Ripley (318), Williamstown (340) and Wirt County (416) brought up the rear.

Also in the field of 118 golfers, Ravenswood’s Kelen Lucas and St. Marys’ Trent Renner placed tied for 28th with an 85.

Despite a double-bogey early in his round, Vannoy rebounded by playing the course even-par for a stretch of seven conseuctive holes before he sank a 35-foot putt for eagle on the par 5, 16th hole.

A sand save and his par on No. 17 was followed by a birdie on the 18th hole. On the back nine, Vannoy shot 3-under 34.

“My round was kind of up and down,” said Vannoy after turning his first career under par round in a tournament setting. “Hit some good shots, hit some bad shots. Right now I am playing very well — my irons and wedges are solid.

“As far as our team, I played with these guys throughout the summer and I sensed this season could be very special. My last two scores have been solid scores but yes, I am getting pushed (by my teammates) and that pushes me to be even better.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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