Purcellville, VA (Mar. 25, 2016) – Winning one state championship would be a dream come true for many high school golfers, but once wasn’t enough for Loudoun Valley senior Brandon Weaver. Not only has he won the state title twice individually, but he also helped lead the Vikings to a Virginia 4A championship as a team this past fall.
Weaver’s individual win as a junior came in an unorthodox manner, however, as the 36-hole event was shortened due to the weather conditions. Playing at Ivy Hill in Forest, Va., Weaver fired an opening round of 70 to grab the lead. Yet, he was able to get in just three holes in the second round before the event was cut short, and he was ultimately crowned the champion.
“It was a big learning experience,” Weaver said. “Even though we didn’t get to finish all 18 the second round, we all pretty much knew we weren’t going to finish, so it felt like the last three holes of the tournament, so it was good to learn how to handle the nerves of leading a tournament.”
Thanks to that experience, the soon-to-be high school graduate followed up his triumphant junior year performance by successfully defending his title in his final campaign, and this time getting in all 36 holes. Playing at Glenrochie Country Club in Abingdon, Va., near the Tennessee border, Weaver shot two rounds of 70 and 74.
“I felt like I needed to prove myself because I didn’t win last year in a typical way, so I had a chip on my shoulder,” he said.
Weaver’s strong play propelled the Vikings to the team title, as the squad fired rounds of 303 and 318 for a total of 621, adding together the top four scores of the six players in the lineup each day.
“It was a lot of fun to win again individually, but it was even more fun because our team also won,” Weaver said. “Our team was really good this year and we’re all really close, so it was just a complete senior year. I’m going to miss the friendships on the team and my coach,” Weaver said.
The Vikings are led by Coach Troy Mezzatesta and practice at Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville.
Weaver is ranked No. 4 in the 2016 class and No. 6 overall in the state of Virginia by Junior Golf Scoreboard, which earned him a spot on the roster at Longwood next year in Farmville, Va. The Lancers golf team competes at the Division I level under the leadership of Coach Kevin Fillman, and are a part of the Big South conference.
“We (Coach Fillman) did a lot of talking and he came to a lot of my tournaments, I think he came to 13 of my tournaments, which is quite a bit, and he gave me an offer in July,” Weaver said.
In addition to his high school events with the Vikings, Weaver competes annually in the Virginia State Golf Association’s (VSGA) top junior competitions during the summer months, including the stoke play and match play championships, and he participated in the men’s VSGA amateur this past summer. He was also a member of the Virginia team for the both the Virginias-Carolinas matches and the Middle Atlantic junior matches in 2015.
Weaver has also played in three American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events, the top junior tour in the country. His best showing on the AJGA circuit was a T9 finish in which he posted a three-day score of -4.
Despite his success, Weaver was a late bloomer in terms of his golf career. His first passion was basketball, and he didn’t begin taking golf seriously until high school.
“Freshman year I struggled to make the lineup, I was shooting like 92, but toward the end of the year I was in the sixth spot,” he said. “Then sophomore year I got a lot better, I averaged about 75 and was number two on the team behind Ian Hildebrand, who plays at Virginia Tech now.”
That sophomore surge compelled Weaver to stay on the links instead of the hardwood. As a more serious student of the game, he also began working with PGA Professional John Miller of the Raspberry Golf Academy at Raspberry Falls in Leesburg.
“John has helped me in pretty much every asset of the game considering where I came from,” Weaver said. “When I first started with him I was about a 20 handicap and now I’m a plus one or two.”
With help from his new instructor and some extra practice, Weaver took over the top spot for the Vikings as a junior, averaging about 72. He continued to improve into his senior year, lowering his average again to about 70.
Weaver attributes his lower scores to strong iron play and accuracy off the tee, allowing him to limit any big mistakes. Yet, he understands there is work to be done to continue achieving success at the collegiate level.
“The short game can always be improved, and in putting it comes down to taking advantage of the opportunities I have,” Weaver said. “I want to be peaking when I get there and I’d like to consistently start in the lineup.”
He is eager to join Coach Fillman and the Lancers program, as the team is competitive and practices at a great facility in Farmville, The Manor Golf Club. Unlike high school, only five players make the traveling roster instead of six, which can be a challenge for any incoming freshman. He expects to fit in well at Longwood both on the golf course and in the classroom, and plans to study environmental science.
“I like the environment, the small school, I’m not a big campus person,” Weaver said. “I’ll be able to focus on golf without many distractions.”
Viva Loudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Josh Apple
Special to Viva Loudoun