Golfing in the Valley: Henry shoots 58 at FRGC

FRONT ROYAL — It was to be a casual late afternoon 9-hole round with some friends for Zach Henry last week at Front Royal Golf Club.

It turned out to be an 18-hole round of a lifetime as Henry, a former Skyline High School star, fired an unimaginable 12-under par 58 to set shatter the course record by five shots.

"Surprisingly, I didn't feel like I was in the zone, but it may have appeared that way," Henry said. "I gave my best effort on every shot, but I sort of stepped aside and let my instinct and wisdom do most of the work."

Henry, who has done well in several state VSGA tournaments and will play in this weekend's Virginia State Open at Ballyhack near Roanoke, had previously shot a career best 65 at Front Royal.

This past weekend at Fauquier Springs Country Club near Warrenton, Henry played in the final group and finished third in the Northern Virginia Amateur Championship tournament.

After making a pair of pars on the par 4's five and six, Henry close out what was originally going to be his only nine of the day with birdies on the short par 4, 265-yard seventh, the 407-yard par 4 eighth and the 145-yard par 3 ninth. A stellar 29.

With the obvious thoughts of setting the course record, and to just see how low he could go, Henry and his group continued on to the back nine.

Longtime FRGC member William "Doc" Hearne, said the choice to continue was an easy one for the group.

"We were only going to play nine holes, then Zach shoots a 29, so I knew there was no way we were not going to play the back nine with him," said Hearne, who attested Henry's round on the scorecard. "That will be the best round I will ever witness. It was amazing to watch."

Starting the round after 5 p.m., Henry also had to not only beat his nerves but darkness as well.

"I started thinking about it on the back nine," Henry admitted. "I actually hit a pull draw off No. 10, which I thought was going out of bounds."

The ball stayed in bounds and Henry took advantage by making yet another birdie.

After a par on No. 11, in which Hhe made a nice up-and-down after missing the green and draining a 12-foot par putt, Henry made back-to-back birdies on the par 3 12th and par 5 13th to rekindle his hopes of breaking the course record.

After a par on 14, Henry went on another streak, making birdies on 15, 16 and 17 to crack the magical 60 barrier.

Henry's final birdie on the short 486-yard par 5 17th didn't come without any butterflies jumping through his gut.

With the tee box straddling the Shenandoah River and with large trees encroaching on the right, the tee shot is one of the more demanding at the course, and Henry said he let some negative thoughts creep into his mind.

"I got anxious and started thinking about the worse possible scenarios (pull hook into the river)," Henry said. "That fear caused me to hit my worst drive of the day, which was a block way to the right."

But Henry's length allowed him to overcome the tee shot.

Left with just 204 yards to the center of the green, Henry managed to hit his approach on and two-putt for birdie.

A routine par on the 155-yard par 3 18th closed out the magical round.

FRGC member Chuckie Sperry, one of the players who played the round with Henry, was easily enthralled by the performance.

"It was highly impressive to watch," Sperry said. "He was making it look easy."

Henry missed only two greens in his round and got up and down each time to save par, while compiling just 22 putts.

Amazingly, with his length off the tee, Henry made no eagles during his round of 12 birdies and six pars.

"All facets of my game were solid, but in order to shoot a round like that your putting needs to be superb and your short game near perfect," Henry said. "Other than gathering information about the shot, I tried my best not to do any thinking. It was like I was on autopilot and instinct was guiding my every decision. I was just mind blown watching putt after putt go into the center."

Henry laughed when he revealed that he in fact had another secret weapon that contributed to his amazing round.

"I'm not a superstitious person, but I had two Hershey bars during the round," Henry said. "And I can guarantee you I will never play a round of golf without a Hershey again."

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