MARION, Va. – Caleigh Street doesn’t begin her junior year at Richlands High School until Aug. 15, but she’s already passed her first major test of the 2019 golf season.
Street shot a one-under par 71 to take medalist honors on Monday in the Bank of Marion Invitational at Holston Hills Community Golf Course.
An eagle on the par-four ninth hole was the highlight of the round for Street.
“I kept it steady from there,” Street said. “I was hitting a lot of fairways and hitting my greens.”
Street spent her summer competing in tournaments in such places as Virginia Beach, Clemson, South Carolina and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and fared well in those events.
“I definitely played a lot this summer,” Street said.
She placed 27th in last year’s VHSL Girls Open at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, the top showing among players from far Southwest Virginia.
“It did motivate me,” Street said. “I want to do even better this year and try to place even higher in states this year if I can make it back. I’m just really working on doing better than I did last year.”
Street was certainly impressive on Monday as she edged Abingdon sophomore Will Watson by two strokes for the individual title. Marion’s Tyler Sayers placed third with a 76.
Watson also spent the last few months competing in prestigious tournaments, but he felt his score of 73 on Monday should have been lower.
“Definitely,” Watson said. “I struggled reading the greens. They were a little grainy today and I had a lot of misreads; a few 10-footers that could have dropped.”
Watson’s stock as one of the area’s elite golfers hasn’t dropped.
“He’s played all summer and he’s playing some really good golf right now,” said Abingdon coach Jason Delp. “He’ll hit his stride later in the season when he needs to. He’s a good rock for us to lean on that’s for sure.”
With a collective score of 315, Abingdon won the team title in Division I (comprised of VHSL Class 2 and 3 schools) on Monday. Watson, Grace Addison (78), Katie Hall (82), Dalton Minnick (82) and Will Austin (95) led the way for the Falcons, who are aiming for a third consecutive state title.
Addison, a freshman, was playing in her first varsity match.
Austin was the only senior in Abingdon’s lineup as Watson, Hall and Minnick are 10th graders.
“We’re young,” Delp said. “I think we’re going to have to just search all year for that fourth score and it’s going to be a challenge. I think they are up to it and they work really hard in practice. Will Watson, after shooting a 73, he wasn’t really happy with it and he told me he couldn’t wait to get back to Glenrochie [Country Club] and practice.”
The shirts Abingdon’s players wore on Monday had a tribute to Kirk Nairn on a patch on the sleeve.
Nairn, a senior on last year’s Abingdon team, died in a car accident on May 16.
“We all know he’s still with us,” Watson said. “Every time we play we think about him. We have his name on our golf balls, our hats, our shirts. Everything this year is for him.”
Chilhowie won the team title in Division II (comprised of Class 1 schools) on Monday with a score of 346, which was 54 strokes ahead of Hogoheegee District rival Holston.
“We had a good year last year and only lost one player,” Chilhowie coach Gary Arnold said. “Everybody else is back and we’re loaded with seniors.”
Noah Barr’s 79 led the way for the Warriors.
“That’s a pretty good score,” Arnold said. “I’ve seen Noah playing golf a lot this summer and it looks like his hard work is paying off.”