Once the “switch went on,” the play of Esteban Knorr improved significantly as the Wakefield Warriors’ senior charged back with scads of birdies to shoot a 3-under 69 and finish tied for third in the state golf tournament.
The one-day, 18-hole Virginia High School League Class A state competition was held Oct. 12 on the par-72 Williamsburg National Golf Club. The winning score was a 7-under 65 shot by Josh Duangmanee of Fairfax High School.
The round didn’t begin well for Knorr. He made two bogeys over the first five holes. At that point, Knorr’s play was more of the same from a day earlier during a practice round.
He said he was playing so badly then, he almost walked off the course after completing nine holes.
“I wanted to quit,” Knorr said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball well and had no confidence.”
When play began for real and after those two early bogeys, that’s when Knorr said something happened and the “switch went on.” He made five birdies, with just one bogey, over the final 13 holes to card the 35-34–69, tying his lowest score of his high-school career in post-season tournament play.
“I got some birdies, and missed a couple of more makeable birdie putts coming in and bogeyed No. 10, or I could have gone lower,” Knorr said. “In golf you take it for what it is.”
Knorr said tinkering the night before with a grip change on his putter to more of a tennis-style handle may have helped his putting during the round.
Knorr recorded the lowest score by any Arlington golfer at the state tournament. The Yorktown Patriots finished sixth (307 total) in the team competition, led by a 73 from junior and past individual state champion Benjamin Newfield and a 75 from Trevor McAndrews.
For Knorr, the third-place finish capped a high-school career that brought significant postseason success this season and last. He placed sixth in this fall’s 6D North Region tourney with a 76-70–146 total and third in the Liberty District tourney at 71-75–146.
As a junior, Knorr finished fourth in the state with a 70, sixth in the region with a 76 and won the National District in a sudden-death playoff thanks to a 69 in regulation play.
Looking ahead, Knorr is working toward playing golf in college.
The Patriots entered the state as the region runner-up and were hoping for a higher finish, collectively wanting to play their best round of the season. The Patriots were playing in the state for the first time since 1995.
“We checked that box of getting here, but the players were disappointed and bummed not to do better,” Yorktown coach Chris Williams said. “All in all, we didn’t play well and put it together. We’ll have four top returners next year. They have the experience of being here and now know what it feels like. So I told them next year, let’s go get first or second.”
Yorktown amassed team scores of 303, 302, 296 and 296 in its previous two postseason tournaments this season.
Rowan Foose shot 79 for Yorktown, Charlie Lamb and Tony Newell each had 80 and Aidan Langley 84 at the state tournament.