Langley state champ golf photo

Langley High School golf coach Al Berg holds the state-championship trophy with his players surrounding him. (Photo by Eiko Chinn)

The golfing dynasty continued on the high-school circuit for the Langley Saxons on Oct. 9 when they capped their 2018 campaign by winning a third straight Virginia High School League state championship.

Langley won the Class 6 crown with an 18-hole score of 296 on the par-72 Magnolia Green Golf Club near Richmond, 11 shots clear of runner-up Lake Braddock. The Saxons also won 2016 and 2017 state titles on that same course.

Overall, Langley has won a record seven state championships at the VHSL’s highest classification level. In addition, the team has won seven straight postseason high-school tournaments, all in convincing fashion, dating back to the 2016 state crown.

“I don’t think we were our sharpest,” Langley coach Al Berg said about the Oct. 9 round. “The putts weren’t rolling in, but the guys played very, very hard and stuck with it. That is a testament to them, to how hard they worked at their games and played all season. We are proud to be state champions again.”

Langley’s four players who counted in the team scoring all shot in the 70s, led by sophomore and 2017 state champion Kelly Chinn with a 2-under 35-35–70. Individually, Chinn finished second this fall by one stroke behind Battlefield’s Bryce Corbett. That snapped Chinn’s streak of winning three straight postseason high-school crowns, including this season’s district and region titles.

Chinn said his ball striking could not have been better in a round that included four birdies and two bogeys and hitting 16 greens in regulation.

“It’s nice to win individually if you can, but my number one goal was to win as a team, and we obviously got that done,” Chinn said while at the team’s traditional post-state-tournament celebration dinner at Glory Days Grill in Chesterfield. “That’s what I care about the most.”

Langley junior Nikita Gubenko tied for sixth in the state tournament, shooting 73. Langley junior Brian Feinstein shot 76 and tied for 12th, freshman Suneil Peruvumba carded 77 to place 18th, sophomore Noah Kim tied for 19th with 78 and junior Sam Zmuda shot 83 to tie for 31st.

The nine-hole totals of Langley’s four who counted in the team scoring were all in the 30s.

“Brian and Suneil really finished strong and that helped us,” said Berg, who began coaching Langley in 1996 and has led the Saxons to five state titles.

This year the state tournament was shortened from 36 to 18 holes for the first time in the history of the VHSL’s highest classification. That worried Berg a bit because there was no margin for error.

“That change was a concern, but they weren’t going to be denied,” Berg said.

Added Chinn: “As the season went on, we all got more consistent. “Having so much depth on this team takes the pressure off.”

McLean High School junior Jonathan Zou shot 75 to place 11th. He shot a bogeyless 3-under 33 on the front nine, which included three birdies, then had 42 on the back, including a triple-bogey 7 on the 16th hole. It was his first appearance in the state tournament. Zou finished second in the region tournament a week earlier.

Same for Marshall High sophomore David Stanford. He shot 81 to tie for 26th.

NOTES: Langley's average margin of victory during its string of seven straight postseason high-school tournament victories is 34.4 strokes, including highs of 58 and 48 and a low of 11 . . . In addition to Langley’s three straight state titles, the team’s other four came in 2011, 2001, 1984 and 1983. The lone time the Saxons finished second in the state came in 1982. . . . The only VHSL team to win four straight state championships at the highest classification is Mills Godwin of Richmond. Langley can tie that mark next fall.

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