Brady Falk was shoeless, his clubs stowed in the trunk of a dark blue Audi A6. The Riverbend junior figured his day—and season—was complete after shooting an 84 at Monday’s Region 6B golf championship.
But no sooner had Falk begun pulling out of the parking lot at Fawn Lake Country Club than an opposing coach advised him to wait. A three-way playoff was needed to determine the final two state berths, and he’d earned a spot.
So instead of driving home, Falk hit the driving range.
More than an hour later, Falk left the course for good—but not before securing a spot in next week’s Class 6 tournament by virtue of a 12-foot par putt on the second additional hole.
“I didn’t think I would get it anywhere near the hole,” Falk said of the putt's brisk, right-to-left path. “Then it just went in.”
Battlefield’s Bryce Corbett required no such drama to claim medalist honors. The Radford-bound lefty fired a 69 to best runner up Stephen Cobb by 12 strokes. Corbett's Bobcats (321) won the team competition with similar ease. Both Battlefield and second-place Patriot will advance to states as a team.
Following a long layoff and the announcement of team and individual awards, Falk, Colonial Forge’s Rhonan Muller, and John Champe’s Ethan Pham set off on foot for the 363-yard par-4 No. 1. Preceding them, a convoy of golf carts loaded with coaches and teammates formed a motorized gallery.
Falk took the tee box first.
“I was thinking, ‘Just hit a good shot, just hit a good shot,’” he recalled. “There’s so many people watching me, it was so nerve wracking. Hitting a good shot just took all the pressure off me. “I was like, ‘I just killed that. Let’s watch those other guys hit.’”
All three players parred the first hole, though Falk’s birdie putt came to rest agonizingly close to the cup.
On both playoff holes, Falk opted for a 3-wood, the club that offers him the best combination of distance and accuracy.
“The driver?” he said. “I’m always just hitting it anywhere.”
On No. 2, Pham and Falk both landed their approach shots on the fringe, while Muller lost his in a thicket and was forced to take a penalty stroke. Muller scrambled to position himself for a bogey putt but left it short, eliminating himself from contention for a berth.
Falk figured he’d have a shot at qualifying for states, but it was no sure thing. He averages six-over par on nine holes, a trend that held up as he carded a pair of 42s on Monday.
This much is true: when Falk finishes his round at Magnolia Green Golf Club in Moseley next week, he’ll hang around the clubhouse. At least long enough to learn his fate.
“When I heard we had a playoff,” he said, "I was like ‘Oh my God, I have a chance.””
Team results: Battlefield 321, Patriot 340, John Champe 353
Colgan 364, Colonial Forge 369, Riverbend 384, Forest Park 465, Potomac 485
Individual state qualifiers: Thomas Cantrell, Colgan (82); Brady Falk, Riverbend (84, par-par in playoff); Ethan Pham, John Champe (84, par-bogey in playoff).