Latest News from the Scott Robertson Memorial

2024 SRM Coverage

Roanoke Times Coverage – May 20th 2024

WSLS Coverage – May 19th 2024

Virginian Reilly wins boys senior Scott Robertson title

By Steve Hemphill

For more than a quarter century, Virginians experienced a cold spell when it came to claiming the top spot in the boys’ title at the Scott Robertson Memorial, presented by Janney.

On Sunday, not one, but two golfers who call Old Dominion home were battling for championship crystal.

And the difference turned out to be Logan Reilly’s birdie on the 17th hole. The rising senior from Lovettsville who attends Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington shot a 2-under-par 67 to edge Michael Lee of Fairfax at Roanoke Country Club.

Reilly was the third Virginian since 2018 to win the tournament, joining Connor Johnson of Richmond and Michael Brennan of Leesburg. But before that, the last Virginian to win the tournament was Jason Barba of Virginia Beach in 1992.

“Home state, I’ve gotta show out,” Reilly said. “It definitely feels good to cement my name as one of the best Virginia golfers here.”

Reilly, who plans to play golf at Auburn after completing his senior year of high school, claimed two titles in less than a week. Last Monday, he shared medalist honors with another Scott Robertson competitor — Xander Goboy of Chesapeake and Catholic High School, in the Virginia Independent Schools state tournament in Williamsburg.

Goboy finished in a tie for eighth place. Two other Virginians, Jake Albert of Blacksburg and Nate Faulkner of Roanoke County and Cave Spring, also finished in the top 10.

“Obviously, it hasn’t sunk in completely yet, but I see that list of (former winners) and it feels so good,” Reilly said.

Lee took a one-shot lead into Sunday but went in knowing it was going to be a competitive day. Nine players were within four shots of the leader, including 2023 champion Tyler Mawhinney, who birdied three of the first five holes to close in on the leaders. However, the rising junior from Fleming Island, Florida, slipped back after that with two bogeys on the next four holes.

The biggest charge of the day came from Brady Catalano of Columbus, Ohio, whose 66 was the low round of the day and vaulted him to third place for the tournament.

Still, it was going to take either Lee or Reilly to falter if anyone was going to get to the top of the leaderboard. Lee had the early advantage, shooting a 1-under 34 on the first nine. But he ran into trouble early in the back nine, carding bogeys on the 10th and 12th holes. He did birdie No. 11 in between but finished his day with six straight pars.

Meanwhile, Reilly heated up on the back nine, getting birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, and then taking the lead on the par-5 17th.

“I probably hit the best drive of the week on that hole — I hit right down the middle,” Reilly said. “I was about 230 yards (out), and it was kind of a mud ball, so I wasn’t sure where it would go, but it was a fine shot. It went into the right rough, and then I chipped it up to about 5 feet and drained it.”

Lee had a chance to force a playoff on the 18th hole when he had a putt for birdie, but his attempt came up short.

“I just didn’t putt too well today, and I had a few mistakes,” Lee said. “There were a lot of mud balls out there today and then (the next shot) didn’t do what I was hoping it would do. I played well, but Logan was better and deserved it.”

For Reilly, the SRM was his second high-level win in the past year. Last July, he won an AJGA event in Pennsylvania. He has had two other AGJA top-10s as well.

“My iron game and my wedges have improved (since last year), Reilly said. “I’m giving myself birdie opportunities and even if the putter isn’t rolling, some of them have to go in because they’re so close.”

Petty puts together record-breaking round to win SRM 14-under division

By Steve Hemphill

Davis Petty was quick to describe what he accomplished on Sunday at Roanoke Country Club.

“That was the best round of my life,” he said. “Unbelievable.”

Petty shot 7-under 64, the best round ever in his division, to rally from five shots back to win the 14-under boys division of the Scott Robertson Memorial, presented by Janney.

“I knew what I had to do today,” Petty said. “I knew (a 64) was possible the way the course was playing. I just needed to hit a few fairways and a few greens. Then the putter got hot at the right time.”

Petty said his round was bolstered first when he sank a 30-foot putt for birdie on the sixth hole. He later topped that with a 40-foot birdie putt that went down on the 15th hole. That was the last of four straight birdies he carded on the inward nine.

The second round of the 14-under division was cut to nine holes due to a severe weather delay. Petty said that hurt him because he felt more comfortable on the Redbud course, which served as the division’s back nine. Still, he felt like he figured out how to reverse his fortune

“I hit the ball really well yesterday, but I couldn’t get putts to fall,” Petty said. “But I was really confident today and I knew what I needed to do. Bombs away.”

Ryan Hooker of Oakton, Virginia finished second, one shot back. He needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff but came up short on his putt.

Second-round leader Rayhaeo Feng finished tied for fifth after shooting 75 on Sunday.

Phung holds off defending champion to SRC 14-under girls title

By Steve Hemphill

Alexandra Phung didn’t flinch when she was asked to say a few words during the trophy presentation at the Scott Robertson Memorial golf tournament, presented by Janney.

She thanked the tournament officials, the Roanoke Country Club members, the volunteers, and the other competitors. She even gave a shout out to her older sister Amelie for following her around after finishing her own round.

Her remarks were reminiscent of her last nine holes of the 14-under division tournament, which led to her winning by two shots over defending champion Grace Carter of Jupiter, Florida.

Phung took a one-shot lead into Sunday’s round but was tied with Carter as they teed off of the 16th hole. Phung carded her seventh straight par on the par-3, but Carter finished with a four, giving Phung the solo lead. Then on 17, Phung picked up her first birdie of the day to go up by two shots. She then matched pars with Carter on the last hole to clinch victory.

Phung shot a 1-over-par 72 and finished the tournament at 5 over par.

“My round today was pretty calm,” said Phung, who is from Forest Hills, New York. “But since I couldn’t get a birdie until the 17th hole, it was also quite stressful. But other than that, it was a great round.”

Phung’s win in Roanoke was the second high-profile tournament championship this month. She won her first AJGA event the first week of the month at the Wisconsin-based AJGA Junior All-Star at Meadowbrook in a playoff.

She also finished fourth at another AGJA event in Florida in April.

“Yeah, I’ve been on a little big of a roll,” Phung said. “I’ve been playing well.”

The competition between Phung and Carter was back and forth on the final nine holes. Carter had claimed a share of the lead after getting birdies on the 11th and 14th holes. Phung managed to pull away on the last three holes. After that, all that was left was to give her speech. That part was also stress-free since she already knew what she wanted to say.

“It was a great experience,” Phung said before the awards ceremony. “Everyone here was very hospitable, and the lunch here was great and the desserts also were great. Overall, all the members and everybody was great. I really enjoyed my weekend here.”

Roanoke Times Coverage – May 19th 2024

WSLS Coverage – May 18th 2024

Grace Carter kept the ball rolling in the right direction after winning last year’s 14-under girls title at the Scott Robertson Memorial.

By Steve Hemphill

She won an AJGA event for the first time last August at the AM Technical Solutions Junior in suburban Pittsburgh, and placed in the top five in three other events.

“It’s been going pretty well,” Carter said Saturday after finishing her weather-shortened round at Roanoke Country Club. … “Winning here last year gave me a lot of confidence.”

In Sunday’s final round, Carter will be in the final group of the 14-under division just one shot out of the lead as she attempts to defend her title.

Carter shot 38 for nine holes on Saturday. Both the boys and girls playing in the 14-under tournaments had their second rounds reduced to nine holes due to thunderstorms that forced play to be suspended for nearly an hour. The 18-hole finale for the 12-player field gets under way at noon Sunday.

Carter, from Jupiter, Florida, is chasing second-round leader Alexandra Phung of Forest Hills, New York, shot 36 on Saturday, is at plus-4. Carter and Hayden Knapp of Gansevoort, New York, are both one shot back. Carter said she looks forward to getting back to 18 holes.

“I actually like to play more holes because I have more time to advance,” she said. “Tomorrow, I need to not think as much and not second-guess my shots. I have to feel confident and execute.”

In the 15-18 division, Avery McCrery of Wilmington, Delaware, extended her lead to seven strokes by following up her first-round 64 with a 2-under-par 69 to go to 9-under par with one round to play. McCreery had not posted a sub-70 round at the SRM in the two trips she had made to Roanoke. She said the experiences of the past two years have led to what is happening this weekend.

“I really love this event,” she said. “It’s a great event. … This is kind of where everything started for me as far as junior golf and getting into bigger events. I qualified my first year and ever since then I’ve been able to come back, which is really special.

“I obviously really appreciate everyone here. I appreciate my competitors. I especially appreciate the tournament committee and all the volunteers that can make this possible. I’m extremely thankful.”

Three other girls are under par going into the final round — Ann-Sophie Bourgault of Naples, Florida (minus-2), Angelina Tolentino of Mount Laurel, New Jersey (minus-1) and Madison Messimer of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (minus-1).

New Jersey’s Feng leads 14-under division of SRM

 By Steve Hemphill

Rayhao Feng hitched a ride with his father and sister to this weekend’s Scott Robertson Memorial golf tournament.

He’s doing his best to earn his keep, leading the way in the 14-under division going into Sunday’s final round at Roanoke Country Club.

Feng, whose sister Rayee is tied for 14th in the girls’ 15-18 division, shot a 1-under-par 34 in the weather-shortened second round of the tournament. Both the boys and girls 14-under groups had their days cut short due to a late-afternoon thunderstorm that caused nearly an hour suspension of the play and concerns that the storms would return led tournament officials to make some changes for the sake of safety.

Feng, who lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, said he would have liked to play the back-nine because there are two par-5 holes coming in compared to just one on the first nine. However, he still goes into the final round with a one-shot advantage over another New Jersey player, Rory Asselta.

“I like the course,” Feng said. “It’s up-and-down, and narrow. There’s a lot of turns. It’s fun.”

Feng was part of a three-way tie for first after the first round, after he put together a one-birdie, one-bogey round of even-par 71. His nine holes on Saturday had a little more variance. He birdied three holes, while taking bogeys on two others.

“I’m trying to get better with my short game,” Feng said. “I’m hitting my long irons real well, but I’ve been struggling with my short game. But it’s getting better. I’ve been working pretty hard on it.”

In the boys’ senior division, a couple of Virginians lead the way going into what should be an exciting final round.

Michael Lee of Fairfax has a one-shot lead over Logan Reilly of Lovettsville after Lee shot 68 for the second consecutive day. Reilly, who was part of four-way first-round tie, finished with a 69 on Saturday.

There are eight others within four strokes of Lee, including defending champion Tayler Mawhinney, who shot a second-round best 67 after shooting 73 on Friday. Trying to come from behind is nothing new for Mawhinney, who rallied from six shots back last November to win the AGJA Rolex Tournament of Champions in San Antonio.

He added that in most high-level junior events like the Scott Robertson, jammed leaderboards are the norm.

“It’s like this all the time,” said Mawhinney, who birdied four straight holes on the back nine Saturday to get himself back into contention. “Sometimes people run away with it. But you can always come from behind in big events.”

An early morning tee time seemed to agree with Avery McCrery.

By Steve Hemphill

Heading out with the first threesome of the day, McCrery was wide-eyed and ready to go, carding five birdies in the first eight holes on the way to shooting a sizzling 7-under-par 64 to take a four-stroke lead in the 15-18 girls division on Friday at the Scott Robertson Memorial golf tournament at Roanoke Country Club.

McCrery, a Wilmington, Delaware, resident who has verbally committed to attend Duke after she graduates from high school in 2025, had her best round by far in the past three seasons she has been competing in the senior division of the SRM.

Last year, McCrery finished tied for 7th with a three-day score of plus-5 218. She took 11th in 2022. Her best score here before Friday was a 70 in the second round of last year’s tournament. The closest competition going into Saturday’s second round is Hallie Wilson of Lewisville, North Carolina, who finished with a 3-under-par 68. three others are six shots back.

Elsewhere in the tournament, scoring was quite a bit tighter after the first round.

– In the boys 15-18 division, four players, Cael Ropietski of Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania, Daniel McBrien of Holly Springs, North Carolina, Michael Lee of Fairfax and Logan Reilly of Lovettsville shot 3-under-par 68s to share the lead. It should be an exciting second round, with 10 others within two shots of the leaders.

Defending champion Tyler Mawhinney of Fleming Island, Florida, is tied for 34th, five shots back after a first-round 73. Last year’s 14-under winner, Zabe Shores of Pinehurst, North Carolina, shot a 78.

– In the 14-under girls division, defending champion Grace Carter of Jupiter, Florida, shares the first round lead with Hayden Knapp of Gansevoort, New York, after both shot 74 on Friday.

– And in the boys 14-under division, there’s another four-way lead. Rory Asselta of Ramsey, New Jersey, Rayhao Feng of Short Hills, New Jersey, Milan Rampersaud of Durham, North Carolina, and Ryan Hooker of Oakton, Virginia, lead two others by one shot after first-round 71s.

The tournament continues through the weekend.

Roanoke Times Coverage – Saturday May 17th 2024

Scott Robertson Memorial honors long-time starter Bill Shrader and Northside senior Nick Crawford

By Steve Hemphill

When a golf tournament like the Scott Robertson Memorial continues to thrive for 40 years, it takes a little luck and a lot of hard work.

As the years went on, the prominent junior event was fortunate enough to draw some fields that were as competitive as any tournament in the country. They kept coming back because of the people who made sure the players who made the trip to Roanoke Country Club were provided with a great experience.

That experience often began when the tournament’s long-time starter, Bill Shrader, welcomed them to the first tee.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve seen some great ones come through,” said Shrader, who has handled starter duties for over three decades. “Hunter Mahan, Lanto Griffin, Kevin Na. … Kevin won it twice. What a great player!”

Shrader is one of scores of volunteers who have helped make the SRC possible since its debut in 1984. Now in his 90s, he has reduced his role to an emeritus status, but hopes to welcome at least a couple of groups to No. 1 in his own way.

“And when he’s out there, he doesn’t announce it as the 9 a.m. tee time,” said tournament administrator Debbie Ferguson. “He calls each group to their ‘game.'”

Shrader, a Roanoke native who graduated from Jefferson High School then went on to play basketball for two seasons at Duke, was honored by the Junior Golf Foundation of Virginia the night before the start of the 2024 Scott Robertson Memorial for the role he has played since he returned to Roanoke after his retirement in the late 1980s. He was inducted into the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame in 2014.

While Thursday night’s reception put the spotlight on Shrader, he pointed out he is just one of many RCC members and other Roanoke Valley golf enthusiasts who come together every May to make sure the tournament runs smoothly.

“There’s a lot of clubs where members will gripe about losing a few days to let a bunch of juniors come in and play,” Shrader said. “That was never the case here. Everybody gets involved and they really enjoy it.”

Ferguson, who has been involved with the tournament since the late 1990s, said that while her role of putting together the fields for the four playing divisions keeps her busy, she also has the comfort of knowing that she can focus on her specific duties, because there is a trusty group of volunteers taking care of their own assignments, such as recording scores, providing hospitality for the players and making sure the competitors get on the golf course when they’re supposed to.

“He’s a prime example of that (teamwork),” Ferguson said. “There are certain core groups of people that take care of other jobs that I never have to worry about, and Mr. Schrader is one of those. He always has his guys ready to do the starting. I never had to worry. …

“One of the best parts of the Scott Robertson week is when I first get out here, I get my hug from Mr. Shrader.”

Also honored on Thursday was Northside High School senior Nick Crawford, a long-time First Tee participant and the winner of the VSGA’s Mike Wise Award. In addition to that scholarship, Crawford also found out he was getting two scholarships, as he was also one of 24 graduating seniors nation-wide to be honored as a First Tee Scholar.

That topped off a memorable senior year for Crawford. Last fall, he was part of Northside’s Blue Ridge District-champion golf team and has also committed to play golf next fall at Emory & Henry, where he plans to major in business. He credits the well-rounded First Tee junior program, where he didn’t just learn how to play golf, but also found how the game can help make you a well-rounded person.

“It taught me a lot of core values, life lessons, and a lot of golf skills,” Crawford said. “It’s impacted me in a lot of ways — not just in golf but in life.

“… The core value that stuck with me the most was probably honesty. At school, being honest with different things and in life. That has really stuck with me.”

Before leaving for college in the fall, Crawford will be transitioning from a First Tee student to being part of the staff.

Junior Golf Foundation of Virginia chairman Briggs Andrews said Crawford has been a great representative of the local First Tee operation.

“That’s what the First Tee is there for,” Andrews said. “We try to cover the valley, we work in the schools and we get individuals like Nick to come and work with us over time. It’s very heart-warming to see these kids develop.”

Three champions return

When play gets under way on Friday, three of the four divisions will have defending champions on the course.

Defending 15-18 boys winner Tyler Mawhinney for Fleming Island, Florida, tees off at 11:20 a.m. Also in the 15-18 division will be last year’s 14-under winner Zabe Shores of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Grace Carter of Jupiter, Florida, who won last year’s 14-under girls event at the age of 12, will again be in the younger girls’ field.

Roanoke Times Coverage – Friday May 17th 2024

WFXR Coverage May 16th 2024

WDBJ Coverage – May 15th 2024

WSLS Coverage – May 14th 2024

2023 SRM Coverage

Roanoke Times Coverage Monday May 22nd

ROANOKE — With her junior golf days now in the final months, Macy Pate was still looking for some marquee championships before moving on to college.

After numerous close calls, Pate got a big win on Sunday, winning the 39th Annual Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament Girls 15-18 Division.

Pate, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, birdied four times on the way to 2-under-par 69 and a three-shot victory over second-round leader Molly Davidson.

Pate, who finished tied for 15th in last year’s SRM, had added sevenn-straight top-20 finishes in AJGA-level events since last May, including three top-10s. But finishing on top feels a little different, she admits.

“Winning feels really good,” said Pate, who will enroll at Wake Forest in the fall. “I stayed really focused today, stuck with my game plan and stayed in the right mindset. It really paid off for sure.

“I’m looking to take (this feeling) into my next tournaments.”

Pate, whose three-day total of minus-5 208 and Davidson, who ended up minus-2 211 were the only girls to finish under par.

Mia Hammond of New Albandy, Ohio, finished third, with a three-day total of plus-2 215.

Pate and Davidson traded the lead back and forth on the front nine until took the lead on the seventh hole when Davidson’s three-putt bogey put her one shot behind.

Pate then added a birdie on the par-5 eighth to go up by two. Birdies on the 12th and 17th holes padded her lead, as she teed off at No. 18 with a four-shot advantage.

“On the last nine, the biggest challenges were not getting ahead of myself,” Pate said. “I knew when we made the turn that I had a two-shot lead and it’s easy to see yourself in this moment but not see yourself on the course. It was just important for me to say to myself you still have holes to play and to go shot by shot.

Davidson, the Springville, Alabama, resident who shot a tournament-best 66 on Friday, had numerous birdie putts on her last 10 holes, but could not get one to fall.

Pate said she had been looking forward to coming back to Roanoke for this year’s SRM ever since she said her goodbyes last spring.

“Everybody here treats you great,” Pate said. “I’ve kind of gotten to know one of the tournament directors really well, which is always cool. … This is a tournament I’ve always like to play in, and I’m thankful to get a win in my last year here.”

in the 14-under Division, Grace Carter of Jupiter, Florida, finished her weekend with a 4-over-par 75 and won by two strokes over Macie Rasmussen of Chesapeake. Carter, 12, had three-day total of 8-over-par 221.

Sophie Cao of McLean was third, four strokes off of the pace.

The low round of the day in the 14-under group was shot by Zoe Cusack of Potomac, Maryland. She shot 71 and tied for fourth with Asnoor Kaur of Roanoke, six shots back.

-Steve Hemphill

ROANOKE — Tyler Mawhinney was just looking for a drama-free Sunday in his final round of the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament.

He couldn’t control what might happen around him, but Mawhinney, a rising sophomore from Fleming Island, Florida, kept to his plan. His even-par 71 led to a five-shot victory in the Boys 15-18 Division.

“I just wanted to limit big mistakes and big numbers,” said Mawhinney, who opened the tournament on Friday by shooting 33 on his front nine and then led wire to wire. “When I got into trouble, I’d just try to hit it back into play and have a chance at par. If the putt went in that was great. If not, then I’d just move on to the next hole.

“This will definitely help me get into some other events, and it’s a big confidence booster into the summer. … Confidence is a big thing, and sometimes things can go your way and sometimes they won’t.”

Mawhinney took on a tough Sunday layout and finished with a round including four birdies and four bogeys. His three-day total of 6-under-par 207 was one of just two under-par scores of the tournament. Runner-up Boyi “Barry” Zhang shot a 2-under 69 to finish with a three-day total of 1-under 212.


If there had been a final-day charge, Mawhinney said he probably wouldn’t have known. Since there was a standard bearer displaying the scores, the leader knew where he stood against the other players in his threesome, but had no idea what had been happening in other groups.

“I didn’t know where I was at (compared to the others) until my second shot on 18,” Mawhinney said. “I was surprised I was ahead by that much, but it was definitely a relief.”

Mawhinney said he enjoyed the challenge that he faced at Roanoke Country Club and said that to have a drama-free day, it took a lot of concentration.

“The pin locations were very difficult and the greens were pretty fast,” he said. “That makes it pretty hard. To get birdies, you have to hit the ball in the right spot. If you’re in the wrong spot, you have to just take your par and move on.”

In the Boys 14-under Division, Zabe Shores of Pinehurst, North Carolina, shot a 1-over-par 72, to finish the week with an even-par score of 213. That was good enough for a four-shot win over Jaden Peterson of Port St. Lucie, Florida.

-Steve Hemphill

WDBJ 7 Coverage May 21st

WFXR 27 Coverage May 21st

WSLS 10 Coverage May 21st

Roanoke Times Coverage May 21st

ROANOKE — Grace Carter said as a 12-year-old, she hasn’t had a chance to play in too many three-day golf tournaments.
“Maybe five or six,” said Carter, who is from Jupiter, Florida and wrapping up sixth grade.
She’s hoping to fall back on some of those past experiences on Sunday in the final day of the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament at Roanoke Country Club.
Carter comes into Sunday’s round with a two-day score of plus-4 146. That’s one shot better than Macie Rasmussen of Chesapeake. Carter said there were plenty of little things she’d like to get corrected for Round 3.
“My first day, the front nine was a little rough, but I feel like I came back strong on the back nine,” Carter said. “On the second day, I felt I did good on the front, but I hit my putts a little hard on the back nine.”
But the best advice she said she’ll give herself, pretend it’s not a third round.
“I don’t really think about it, really,” she said. “I just try to keep my focus and go shot by shot, I guess.”
One three-day tournament that did go well for her was last November’s Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship in Kinder, Louisiana.

Carter went into the final day of that three-day tournament one shot behind the leader. But a final round of 72, which was one shot off the low score of that day, gave her a one-shot victory in the 11-12 Division, and one of her biggest wins so far in her short career.
In the girls 15-18 Division, first-round leader Molly Davidson still holds the lead, but her advantage over Macy Pate of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is just one stroke with one round to play.
Davidson said after her first round, the lead may allow her to be more aggressive. However, she said she did not hit the ball as well on Saturday, which led to her shooting a 1-over-par 72. She sits at minus-4 138 with Sunday’s round left to play.
“The pin placements were a little more difficult today,” said Davidson, who will be a junior next fall at Springville (Ala.) High School. “Some of the pins were on slopes, so it was definitely tougher today.”
Pate, who shot a 1-under 69 said her comfort on the course was much better, as was her putting. It might have had something to do with how her pre-round preparations went.
“Yesterday, I actually misjudged my (arrival) time in the morning, so I didn’t come here with enough time to do as much putting as I normally do,” she said. “But today, I got here in plenty of time, and putted a little bit better.
Pate, who had previously committed to play just down the road from her home at Wake Forest, reclassified between her sophomore and junior year and will graduate this month from Reagan High School in Winston-Salem.
That means she will be joining the Demon Deacons in the fall.
But before that, she has a number of big youth tournaments left to play, including the a 24-player AJGA event that will be played in concurrence with the LPGA’s Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. It will be Pate’s first trip to New York City.
“I’m really excited to see the course,” she said. “I’ve heard so many good things about it, and you can see the New York City skyline. … I have a lot of friends playing, too, so I’m looking forward to all of it.”

-Steve Hemphill


ROANOKE — There are several ways to earn exemption invitations into the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament.

For junior golfers in the Roanoke and New River valleys, a summer series of events offers a unique chance.
Cameron Sharp of Blacksburg punched his ticket last year when he won the overall championship in the Lanto Junior Tour, a series of junior events held in Southwest Virginia and named after former Blacksburg High School golfer and current PGA Tour member Lanto Griffin.
Sharp, who is finishing up his freshman year at Blacksburg High School, was given the option of either playing in the 15-18 Boys Division, or the 14-under division. He decided on the 14-under event.
“It was my first year here, and I wanted to see what the tournament was about before I jumped into the older division,” Sharp said. “Plus, there was no cut line in this division.”
Even if there had been a cut, Sharp would not have been in danger. He’s in the hunt for a win.
His first-round score of 4-under-par 67 put him one shot behind the lead. He followed it up with a 76, but is still just two shots behind leader Zabe Shores of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
“Today, it wasn’t great,” he said. “I just didn’t make many putts. Yesterday, it was pretty much the exact opposite. I hit a lot of fairways and I made a lot of putts.”
First-round leader Finn Watson, who shot 66 on Day 1, fell back after shooting 81 on Saturday. Vishruth Badiga of Lake Mary, Florida is three shots off the lead after he shot 71.
In the 15-18 Division, first-round leader Tyler Mawhinney of Fleming Island, Florida, takes a two-shot lead over Jack Vojtko of Stow, Ohio, and Langley High School’s Chase Nevins.
“I just kept the course in front of me and did what I needed to do to keep me in the tournament,” Mawhinney said.
As for going into the final round with the lead, Mawhinney said he doesn’t expect to approach it any differently.
“There is a difference, but I’m going to try to stay as mentally strong as I can and see what happens,” Mawhinney said. “(The pins) will probably be in tougher spots and there will be a few sucker pins — the normal last day pins. But you just have to put it in the right spots.”

-Steve Hemphill

Roanoke Times Coverage May 20th

WSLS 10 May 20th Coverage

Trio of tournament veterans lead boys division at Scott Robertson Memorial

ROANOKE — Tyler Mawhinney and Chase Nevins came into Friday’s opening round of the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament with a good amount of knowledge of what it takes to get around Roanoke Country Club.
It seemed to be an advantage for at least one round.
Mawhinney, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Jacksonville, Florida, had six birdies and just two bogies on the way to shooting a 4-under-par 67 to take a two-stroke lead in the boys 15-18 age division.
“I got off the tees well today, and made some putts that I should have made,” said Mawhinney, who was part of the last trio of 15-18 Division players to tee off on Friday. “I never really put myself in any trouble.”
Mawhinney has experienced some good rounds recently. Just last month, he finished tied for fourth in the AJGA’s Justin Thomas Junior Championship in Goshen, Kentucky.
“Today was obviously one of my better days,” Mawhinney said. “Lately, I’ve been able to get off the tee and my short game is saving me when I need to scramble.”
Nevins, who will be a senior next fall at Langley High School in Northern Virginia, is one of the two players who shot 69 and are Mawhinney’s closest competition at this point.
Nevins, who will attend Vanderbilt and play golf for the Commodores after he graduates in 2024, made the SRM his first major junior tournament of 2023. He’s hoping to continue the hot streak he had late in 2022. It included a victory in the AJGA Keith Mitchell Junior Championship last July in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a top-20 finish in the Boys Junior PGA Championship in August. At Langley, Nevins was part of the Saxons’ VHSL Class 6 state championship golf team. Now, he just wants to keep the good times rolling.
“I’ve come in this year with the mindset that I can win this,” Nevins said. “If I just play solid golf, I can do that. I’ve played this course plenty of times, so I’m comfortable and know what shots you have to hit out here.”
This isn’t the first time Mawhinney and Nevins have been this close in the standings. Last year both were part of a six-way tie for 39th, with three-day scores of 8-over-par 221.
Also shooting 69 on Friday was another repeat competitor — Drew Woolworth of Lake Oswego, Oregon. In 2022, Woolworth shot 68 on the final day of the 14-under division and finished fourth overall.
There are plenty of others in the chase as well. Eleven players, coming from eight different states shot 1-under-par 70 on Friday.
Defending champion Byungho Lee of Plano, Texas, shot 72 and tied for 20th.
In the 14-under Division, a pair of Virginians lead the way. Finn Watson of Arlington had a 5-under-par 66 and holds a one-shot lead over Cameron Sharp of Blacksburg who is the son of Virginia Tech men’s golf coach Brian Sharp.

– Steve Hemphill

Davidson holds four stroke lead on Girls 15-18 Field

ROANOKE — Molly Davidson took one major mental note as a result of playing a practice round at Roanoke Country Club in advance of the 2023 Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament, which began on Friday.
“I liked it a lot,” she said of the round she played on Thursday. “You just need to make sure you keep the ball on the fairways and greens.”
Davidson, from Springville, Alabama, did just that on Friday, making seven birdies on the way to a 5-under-par 66 and taking a four-shot lead in the Girls 15-18 Division.
Davidson continued to gain momentum as the round went on. After shooting 35 on her first nine holes, Davidson had five birdies on her second nine and only needed 13 putts to go in at 31.
“I started making more and more putts and felt really confident on the greens,” she said.
Davidson is coming off a victory in last month’s AJGA Junior at Canebrake, which is played in her home state of Alabama. That win improved her AJGA Ranking to No. 73.
A two-tourney winning streak would be nice to have, she said.
“I need to keep being aggressive, but play smart, too,” Davidson said. “I did a little of that today, but I need to keep it up.
In the 14-under Girls Division, Grace Carter of Jupiter, Florida, shot a 1-over-par 72 and has a one shot lead over Macie Rasmussen of Chesapeake. Ashnoor Kaur of Roanoke who won the 14-under division in 2021, is another shot back, tied for third with Sophie Cao of McLean.

-Steve Hempill

Defending champion Lee excited for chance to defend title.

ROANOKE — Toward the end of his practice round on Thursday, Byungho Lee found the tree at Roanoke Country Club that was planted in his honor.

“It’s still pretty small right now,” Lee said. “I think they just planted it a few weeks ago.”
As it turned out, winning the 15-18 boys division of the 2022 Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament was just the beginning of a summer most high school kids would envy.
Lee, the Plano, Texas, resident who won last year’s Scott Robertson by xx shots, followed that win up with another big victory — he claimed his first-ever AJGA event at the exclusive Polo Golf Junior Classic on the famed Bethpage State Park Black Course in Farmingdale, New York.
A little later in the summer, Lee topped that by announcing that he had decided he would attend and play golf in college at Pepperdine after he graduates from Plano’s Spring Creek Academy in 2024.
“I like their coaches and the way they work there,” Lee said. “It’s amazing out there.”
The Wave will be getting a top-shelf player. Lee enters this weekend ranked second in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. In addition to the victories at the SRM and Polo Classic, finished tied for eighth in last year’s Rolex Tournament of Champions and tied for second last March in the 2023 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in South Carolina.
“Quote about how his game has improved and what he’s doing better.”
This week will be Lee’s third year he’s been a Scott Robertson Memorial participant and he gained valuable experience in both of those trips.
In 2021, Lee said while he didn’t have a great scoring weekend, he did have the opportunity to play with Caleb Surratt, who is now playing at Tennessee and was recently named the SEC Freshman of the Year.
“I really learned a lot from him,” Lee said of Surratt. “I learned how to play (in a tournament like this).”
Last year, he said being able to do what was necessary to pull out a one-shot victory was an even more valuable experience.
“Winning here helped me with a lot of the other amateur tournaments I’ve played since then,” Lee said. “This was probably one of the best tournaments I had won (up to that point).”
Lee added that he has also come to enjoy his trips to the Roanoke Valley, which also prompted him to come back.
“I just like this city,” Lee said. “It’s calm out here and not a bunch of buildings around the course. I thought why not come back this year.
“And I wanted to see the tree, too.”
Lee is one of four former champions participating this year.
Also back is the 2022 boys 14-under winner Bradon Sipe, from Yorktown. Sipe is moving up to the senior boys division this year.
On the girls side both the 2021 14-under girls winner, Ashnoor Kaur and last year’s 14-under winner Alisa Davidova. Both are from Roanoke and are still playing in the younger girls division.

-Steve Hemphill

Roanoke Times Coverage Friday May 19th

WFXR 27 May 17th Coverage

Thursday May 18th Coverage by WSLS 10

Thursday May 18th Coverage by WDBJ 7

The final spots for this weekend’s Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament were filled on Wednesday

ROANOKE — The final spots for this weekend’s Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament were filled on Wednesday, with five boys and one girl clinching spots in the event’s last-chance qualifier at Roanoke Country Club.

Benjamin Siriboury of Clarksville, Maryland, had four birdies and an eagle on the way to shooting a 1-under-par 70 to earn medalist honors in the qualifier, which added five players into the 15-18 boys field for the 39th Scott Robertson, which begins on Friday.

Siriboury, a junior at River Hill High School a a two-time state high school boys golf champion in Maryland, was two shots better than a pair of North Carolina golfers — Reece Sanders and Jack Halloran — who both shot 1-over-par 72s.

Halloran, who is a freshman at The O’Neal School in Southern Pines, North Carolina, helped his high school team to a second-place finish in the NCISAA Division III state meet on Monday. He tied for sixth place in the individual standings.

A pair of Virginians also qualified for the main tournament this weekend. Alejandro Carballo, a former Roanoke Valley resident who now lives near Williamsburg, and Wytheville’s David Goode both shot 74 and survived a three-player playoff to qualify.

Goode, a freshman at George Wythe High School, finished fourth in last October’s VHSL Class 1 state golf tournament.

A total of 45 players competed in the boys division of the qualifier.

On the girls’ side, Saia Rampersaud, a sophomore from Durham, North Carolina, ran away from the five-player field, shooting a 3-under-par 68 to claim the one open spot in the field by 11 shots. Rampersaud was a participant in the 2021 Augusta National Drive, Chip and Putt Finals.

A total of 165 junior golfers will be competing in four divisions in this year’s Scott Robertson Memorial, including defending champion in the 15-18 Division, Byungho Lee of Plano, Texas.

-Steve Hemphill

Future pro golf stars will be in Roanoke this weekend – Cardinal News, Roanoke, VA