High school golf: Bartley propels Titans to Heritage Invitational victory

High school golf: Bartley propels Titans to Heritage Invitational victory

Emmerson Bartley did not expect to be the decider in Hidden Valley’s win in the 2021 John Scott Memorial Heritage Invitational, but that’s how it shook out for the Titans’ fifth player.

Hidden Valley and Mills Godwin finished the tournament in a flat-footed tie at 300, each counting the top four scores from their five players. This year, tournament organizers included a revised tie-breaker, even though there had never been a tie in the event. The winner would be the team with the best score by its fifth player. Bartley’s 85 – a solid score that would have counted in all but three teams of the 21 teams playing – was seven shots better than Godwin’s fifth, a 92 by Lawrence Belcher.

Blacksburg’s Jake Albert, a 14-year-old freshman playing in his first high school tournament, toured the par-72 layout in 4-under 68, winning medalist honors in his scholastic debut.

The Titans’ team title ends Blacksburg’s five-year, four-tournament reign over the Heritage Invitational.

Titans coach Mark Croye said the team will be happy to carry momentum into the Bob McClelland Metro this week.

“This is a huge boost for us,” Croye said. “All of our players shot well and played solid. Some of them didn’t think they played all that well, but that shows the level of higher expectations we have now. We played in the spring and didn’t play that well, but we’re playing well this summer.

The Titans were paced by a 2-under-par 70 shot by Harrison Withers.

“He’s playing really well this summer,” Croye said. “He played real solid. Didn’t make any big mistakes. Some rounds are that way when you don’t do anything really special but don’t do anything stupid.”

Slade Aliff, who is now eligible after sitting out the spring because of the transfer rule, shot a 74, matched by Tanner Whitley. Richard Hearp added an 82.

Albert’s round started with a 30-yard chip-in for eagle on his second hole that set the tone for his round. He had two more birdies in the next six holes, then parred the last 10.

“I’ve been playing tournament golf since I was 10 and plying since I was 3, so it’s nice to win my firt high school tournament.” Albert said.

He is sure to get congratulated by his favorite role model, former Bruin golfer and current PGA Tour player Lanto Griffin.

Bruins coach Rick Mattox said Albert is putting him in a quandary. He has never played a freshman in the No. 1 spot, but Albert’s game is so strong right now that might change.

“He’s the real deal,” Mattox said. “We have never played a ninth grader at the No 1 position. Not even Lanto Griffin. We always kind of acquiesce to the senior but if Jake keep throwing up these 68s we might have to see about that.

Albert played in the top slot Monday because normal No. 1 David Johns, along with Samantha Skinner, missed the tournament for a Junior tournament in North Carolina.

Lord Botetourt also missed its top two players, Samir Davidov and Ashton Harper, because of conflicts with AJGA tournaments.

Timesland teams will be back in action next Tuesday with the Metro at Botetourt Country Club.

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