The 2012 golf season was marked by a senior dominated Thomas Dale squad seizing the Central Region crown and a youthful Matoaca squad that showed a glimpse of the future by making a ton of noise in the postseason. Meanwhile, Meadowbrook’s Zachary Wood also advanced to the regional championships.
The Knights were led by three-time Central District Player of the Year, Griffin Clark. Throughout the season, Griffin demonstrated his skills as the cream of the crop. Dale was no one-man show however, as Clark was supported by the consistent play of fellow seniors Jeremy Craft, Eric Blythe, and Tyler Gray. Michael Brooks, Tommy Barron, and Kemper Elder rounded out the Knight’s postseason squad.
In late August, Dale flexed its muscles with an exciting 313-318 victory over Matoaca at Rivers Bend. Coach of the Year, Dave Duncan, then proceeded to guide his troops through an undefeated district schedule. Proving the early victory was no fluke, Dale dominated the district tournament at The Country Club at the Highlands with a 309 total. The powerful Eric Blythe and smooth swinging lefty, Jeremy Craft tallied a pair of 76s, edging teammate Clark by a single stroke. Craft defeated Blythe on the second playoff hole to take individual honors. With Matoaca finishing second, both teams moved on to the Central Region.
On day one, over the tough Jefferson-Lakeside track, Matoaca fired a 306 to seize the lead. The Warriors were the only team to post all sub 85 rounds. Led by junior Matt Padgett (73), sophomores Peyton Broach (77), Davis Topping (78), Samuel Smith (78), and freshman Chase Northcott (78) the Warriors held a slim lead over Mills Godwin, Deep Run, James River, and Thomas Dale.
The second day at Stonehenge began under a shroud of heavy fog, but that didn’t impact the vision of the Knights. Dale played near perfect golf, leapfrogging four teams on the way to a Region title. Griffin Clark and Eric Blythe each carded sub-par rounds of 69 to lead the Knights. Craft and Brooks supported with rounds of 74 and 76 respectively. Although Matoaca’s 610 total was just out of the money, Matthew Padgett was able to earn a trip to the state tournament as the second best individual qualifier.
The state tournament held at Virginia Beach’s Red Wing Golf Club will be remembered by the cold, damp conditions and a female champion. Manchester H.S. and Meadowbrook Country Club member, Lyberty Anderson, took the individual title with a seven under par, 137 total. She edged James River’s Jason Park by one stroke. Thomas Dale never got their game going, finishing seventh as a team. Griffin Clark (149) finished 15th out of 72 players. Eric Blythe and Matt Padgett finished tied for 28th (153).