Yesterday at 5:18 p.m. EDT|Updated yesterday at 5:50 p.m. EDT
What was supposed to be 18 holes of golf at Langston Golf Course for the inaugural D.C. State Athletic Association championships turned into 20 for Grant Lester of St. Albans and Andrew Ludwin of Sidwell Friends.
And after the juniors matched 2-over-par 74s, Lester won the title on the second playoff hole — Langston’s par-5 No. 1 — after his chip from the fringe left him an easy tap-in for birdie.
“He was hitting his drives well all day, putting the lights out,” Lester said of Ludwin. “I won, and I’m happy with that and everything, but I was playing pretty bad going through 14 or 15 holes, and then I went 2 under in the last three to force the playoff.”
St. Albans also edged out reigning WCAC champion Gonzaga by two strokes to capture the team title. “Going into today, I did not expect for us to win,” Lester said. “I knew we would have to have a really good day to beat them, and we did. It feels great.”
The Bulldogs shot a cumulative 29 over. St. John’s (38 over) finished third.
On the girls’ side, National Cathedral’s Victoria Matthews captured the individual title by firing a 9-over 81. The junior is a decorated golfer, having played Augusta National when she was 9 after winning the Drive, Chip & Putt tournament. “It was like the highlight of my life and my dad’s life,” Matthews said, noting her dad as the inspiration for her to play the sport.
Because the Eagles do not have a golf team, Matthews competed in the DCSAA tournament as an individual. “It’s definitely been sad to not have a golf team in that kind of community at school, but I’m definitely proud to bring home a win for them,” Matthews said.
The only D.C. public school competing as a team was School Without Walls. Senior Sean Maxfield, who will play golf next year for Macalester College in Minnesota, has been a part of the program since his freshman year, and like most players on the team, he joined as a freshman without any experience — or even golf clubs.
Coach Cory Matthews describes Maxfield as “the driving force behind the expansion of the program,” which has grown to accommodate the 40 students who are signed up to play the sport.
“The program introduced me to golf, and ultimately I got good enough to be able to play in college,” Maxfield said.