A stillness of the astonished sort overtook Brady Falk, so where some might have fist pumped and others stammered jubilantly, the Riverbend senior simply froze.
Some 65 feet away from where Falk stood on the 16th green of Fawn Lake Country Club on Tuesday afternoon, his ball had also come to rest.
It was in the hole.
Despite his momentary show of surprise, the distant birdie was no long shot based on Falk’s play during the Commonwealth District golf tournament. In fact, it was more akin to a recurring theme in an even-par round of 72 that earned Falk medalist honors by six strokes.
“I was just sinking pretty much every putt I had,” he said.
Falk’s unmatched mastery of the greens spurred Riverbend to a six-stroke victory over runner-up Stafford in the team competition. Colonial Forge (359) placed third, an important distinction with only two Class 6 teams advancing to the Region 6B tournament, which will be held Monday at Fawn Lake.
Massaponax junior Grayson Wood, arguably the district’s top golfer during the season, was unable to participate Tuesday due to COVID-19 protocols. Without Wood atop the lineup, the Panthers finished a distant fourth, tied with Mountain View.
Massaponax golfers Andrew Steis, Bryce, Forrester, and Ryan Cropp will advance to Region 6B competition as individuals.
Stafford senior Drew Harding carded a 78 to finish as the individual runner-up.
For Falk, who advanced to the 2019 state tournament by virtue of a playoff, Tuesday’s 72 marked an all-time low round. He’d previously shot 73 on a couple of occasions.
Falk had a lesson with longtime swing coach Tom Lernihan on Sunday and recalled that when he returned to the range prior to teeing off, “I just started hitting everything perfectly.”
Also working in his favor was a lift, clean and replace rule that was in place Tuesday because of damp course conditions.
“We had a couple guys who may have shot lower rounds than him from time to time, but he was always going to be our No. 1,” Riverbend coach Brett DeGallery said.
1. Riverbend 341; 2. Stafford 347; 3. Colonial Forge 359; 4 (tie) Massaponax 378 and Mountain View 378; 6. North Stafford 496; 7. Brooke Point 517.
1. Brady Falk (Rb) 72; 2. Drew Harding (S) 78; 3. AJ Hartley (CF) 83; 4. Andrew Senkus (Rb) 84; 5. MJ Brahler (CF) 87.
Joey LoMonaco: 540/368-5045