Sports

Wolfe’s 73 Highlights Mason Golf’s Early Successes

Even the blistering humidity and overwhelming sun could not damper the day Mike Wolfe had at the eighth annual Curly Licklider Memorial golf tournament last Wednesday at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club.

Wolfe, a rising senior at George Mason High School, shot a career-best 73, finishing in a tie for sixth place at 2-over par. Against 23 other class A, AA and AAA schools, Wolfe helped lead the Mustangs to a team total of 333, setting a high standard for a program already familiar with success.

In the past two years, Mason’s golf squad is an aggregate 23-0 in regular season matches and sits as the two-time defending Bull Run District regular season champion. The Mustangs have scored top finishes in the Region B tournament in each of the past two seasons as well. But even that hardly compares to what Wolfe experienced.

“Towards the end of the round, I was still shocked,” said Wolfe, who had never shot in the 70s before Wednesday. “Everyone thought I was crazy. It was definitely the round of my life.

“The golf gods were on my side,” continued Wolfe, recounting a hole in which his tee shot hit the car path, rolled back off a tree and into play. “If I was within 10 feet of the hole, I wouldn’t miss the putt, and I actually knew it was going down.”

Mason’s 14th place finish at the Licklider tournament was the Mustangs’ best in the past three seasons and should prove indicative of what is to come for an experienced squad. The top three golfers for coach Chris Carrico’s squad are all seniors. Still, since four golfers are scored, one will have to emerge for the Mustangs.

“Hopefully the young guys will step up,” Wolfe said. “We really need them. We haven’t lost a match in three years. If we do get that first loss, it’s going to be pretty rough, especially in my senior year. I don’t want to have that loss on my record.”

Wolfe finished seven shots behind Loudoun Valley’s Scott Davidson, who fired a 66 to take home top individual honors in the tournament, also helping his team win the overall title. Just three golfers shot under 70.

Senior Michael Duning shot an 86, while classmate Evans Mandes was one stroke behind him at 86. Sophomore Ben Tourkin, who fired an 89, rounded out the scoring for the Mustangs.

On Tuesday, the Mustangs continued their Bull Run dominance, routing Strasburg High School at their home Fairfax National Golf Course 422-352. Mandes shot an 82 to help Mason overcome a sluggish day, one in which both Wolfe and Duning shot 49 on the front-nine. The duo rebounded on the back nine, shooting a 39 and a 41, respectively.

Mason will next be in action on Thursday against Clarke County High at Blue Ridge Golf Course. In addition to their regularly scheduled Bull Run matches, the Mustangs have local rival Washington-Lee High and Brentsville High School, Carrico’s alma mater, on the calendar.

While Mason is trying to continue its winning streak, Wolfe simultaneously attempts to break one of his own.

According to the senior, in years past the Mustang who has shot the best at the Licklider tournament has ended up performing poorly during the year, something Wolfe hopes to end.

“Evans last year shot in the 70s, but I guess he broke the chain. Hopefully with diminished [roster] numbers, the big three seniors keep putting up the amazing numbers. Maybe even I can keep shooting a 73.”