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    Two local golfers finish top five at Junior Stroke Play Championship

    Charlie Musto, of Sterling, and Matthew Brittain, of Ashburn, recorded top five finishes among a stellar field at the 2014 Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship. The 54-hole tournament concluded July 31 in Williamsburg.

    -Here is the full story courtesy of Arthur Utley, a longtime, award-winning reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

    The first time Tom Crow attempted to qualify for the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship, just last year, he didn’t make the field.

    A year later, Crow, a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, not only qualified, he’s the champion.

    Crow, a student at Cape Henry Collegiate School, shot a 2-under-par 70 in Thursday’s final round at Williamsburg Club, for a 54-hole total of 4-under 212.

    He finished one stroke clear of Nathan Chuwait, 16, of Herndon and Charlie Musto, 16, of Sterling. Chuwait, who shot 66 in the second round and shared the 36-hole lead with Matthew Brittain, 17, of Ashburn, slipped to 75 in the finale. Musto fired the best round of the day, 68, to move up the leaderboard.

    Brittain, who also shot 66 in the second round, returned 77 Thursday and shared fourth place at 1-under 215 with Andrew Spiegler, 16, of Abingdon, who concluded with 73.

    They were the only players to finish in red numbers on the redesigned and rebranded club (formerly Williamsburg Country Club) that played 6,744 yards for the juniors.

    The difference for Crow?

    “I’ve grown up a lot since last year. I play a lot more golf tournaments. I’ve gotten a lot more coaching. My swing is in better shape,” Crow said. “My mental game is a little bit better. I mean I’m still a kid, and I like to go for everything as all kids do. I probably get a little heated once in a while, but I like to think I’m pretty level headed at all times whereas a year ago I used to get a little hot, and I’ve worked really, really hard on that.”

    Crow was the first-round leader by five strokes after opening with 66 on Tuesday. He trailed Chuwait and Brittain by four strokes after a second round 76.

    “Actually I wasn’t as disappointed as some might think because if someone had told me I’d be two under (par) going into the final round of the stroke play before I even played, I would have said I’d be stoked to do that. That’s the way I looked at it,” Crow said. “I was a little disappointed that I didn’t play better the second day, but I just looked at it in the grand scheme of things that I’m still in a good spot.”

    Crow, playing in the penultimate group, shot 3-under 33 on the front nine Thursday with birdies on the second and fourth holes and an eagle on the par-5 seventh against a bogey on the ninth. He teed off No. 10 standing at five under for the championship and three shots back of Chuwait, who returned 1-under 35 to stand at seven under.

    Crow reached six under with a birdie at the par-4 14th and saved par at the 15th hole with a 10-foot putt.

    Meanwhile, Chuwait, playing in the final pairing with Brittain and defending champion Logan Yates, 16, of Ruckersville, turned a wayward tee shot on the par-4 13th into a triple bogey to fall out of the lead.

    “I wish I had just punched it out sideways and taken a bogey,” Chuwait said of the triple.

    Brittain fell back with a front-nine 38 and two three-putts early in the back nine. Yates dropped out of the picture courtesy of a triple bogey on the ninth hole.

    Crow gave back two strokes with bogeys at the par-5 16th and par-3 17th with a poor third shot at No. 16 and a miss-club one hole later.

    His tee shot at the final hole strayed right into heavy rough. From there he hacked his second shot into the front left bunker, blasted to 10 feet then sank the par-saving putt.

    “I actually had a similar putt on the first day for par, but it was on the other side of the hole,” Crow said.

    Chuwait, who was two under as he played the 16th, knew he needed a couple of birdies coming in to force a playoff. A 4-foot birdie try lipped out on No. 16, but he rolled home a 16-footer for birdie at the ensuing hole. A pitching wedge second shot at the last wound up 30 feet short of the hole and he made par.

    “I wish I could have played a little bit better on the back,” Chuwait said. “I didn’t come in here expecting to shoot another round like [the 66]. I would have liked to, but I just wanted to go out there, play my game, stick to my game plan, then unfortunately I had that hole on the back nine.”

    Musto started the day at one over par and seven strokes behind. He logged four birdies on the front nine and shot 33. Two early birdies on the back got him to five under for the day.

    After posting his score, he had lunch and waited.

    “I didn’t think I was going to be one shot off. I thought it would be three or four,” Musto said.

    Crow mentioned more coaching as one of the ways he’s grown in the past year. He began working with Butch Harmon last Christmas.

    “When I see him, I either go to Vegas or The Floridian, which are his two facilities in the U.S.,” said Crow, whose grandfather and Harmon are friends. “I’ll call him tonight to let him know.”

    Tom Crow (Virginia Beach), 66-76-70—212

    Charlie Musto (Sterling), 73-72-68—213

    Nathan Chuwait (Herndon), 72-66-75—213

    Andrew Spiegler (Abingdon), 73-69-73—215

    Matthew Brittain (Ashburn), 72-66-77—215

    Mark Lawrence Jr. (Richmond), 72-72-74—218

    Logan Yates (Ruckersville), 71-70-77—218

    Connor Messick (Oak Hill), 73-73-72—218

    Bryce Johnson (Oakton), 74-73-71—218

    Ty Olinger (Blacksburg), 74-74-71—219

    Kurt Funkhouser (Potomac Falls), 74-71-75—220

    Connor Burgess (Lynchburg), 72-72-77—221

    Brandon Yoon (Brambleton), 74-78-70—222

    David Rabil (Fairfax Station), 74-74-74—222

    Michael Mead (Spotsylvania), 75-78-69—222

    Vishal Giri (Chantilly), 75-76-71—222

    Fitz Woodrow (Charlottesville), 74-74-75—223

    Alston Newsom (Chesapeake), 74-77-72—223

    Colton Grow (Henrico), 74-70-79—223

    Adam Szwed (Woodbridge), 75-73-76—224

    Austin Fockler (Richmond), 73-75-77—225

    Joey Jordan (Glen Allen), 74-75-76—225

    Jake Miles (Spotsylvania), 74-75-77—226

    Connor Rinoski (Yorktown), 73-74-79—226

    Ian Hildebrand (Purcellville), 75-78-73—226

    Christopher Angelelli (Virginia Beach), 77-76-73—226

    Larkin Gross (Center Cross), 76-75-75—226

    Adam Hade (Glen Allen), 76-75-75—226

    Sam Comer (Roanoke), 76-78-72—226

    Jamie Agnew (Fairfax), 78-76-73—227

    Trey Wren (Suffolk), 71-77-80—228

    Parker See (Verona), 80-72-77—229

    Josiah Singleton (Brookneal), 74-78-78—230

    Keith Cooper (Suffolk), 81-73-76—230

    Teddy Hoffmann (Virginia Beach), 76-77-77—230

    Ryan Muthiora (Zion Crossroads), 79-74-77—230

    Will Snyder (Clifton), 78-76-77—231

    Brandon Weaver (Purcellville), 79-72-80—231

    Ryan O’Sullivan (Leesburg), 78-74-80—232

    Boyd Peete (Richmond), 76-77-79—232

    Zeke Shen (Forest), 77-75-80—232

    Will Coggins (Chesapeake), 79-75-79—233

    York Beights (Afton), 77-77-81—235

    Jordan Plogger (Staunton), 73-81-87—241

    Ben Ramsey (Bluefield), 77-77-91—245

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