Stonewall’s Desai advances to state tournament

TAPPAHANNOCK – Sometimes a little adjustment can make all the difference.

Stonewall Jackson sophomore Yash Desai made an adjustment on his golf swing this week, and it paid off in a big way. Desai shot a 78 at the Region 1A East golf tournament on Wednesday at Hobbs Hole Golf Course in Tappahannock. That was enough to qualify Desai for the Group 1A state golf tournament next week.

“He was in a zone,” Stonewall Jackson coach Roger Wilkins said in a telephone interview on Wednesday evening. “He was just really focused. It was just awesome for him to do that, and he’s only a sophomore.”

It was the first time Desai has shot in the 70s in his career. Desai was joined in the regional tournament by teammates Lukas Fultz and Nick Dotson. Fultz, a junior, shot a career-best 88, and Dotson, a sophomore shot a 97.

Wilkins said Desai had been struggling with his swing over the last few weeks, and on Tuesday with help from Wilkins and his teammates, he finally figured out what he needed to do. Wilkins said he shortened his back swing and it made a huge difference.

“He was hitting it right down the middle,” Wilkins said. “He didn’t miss many fairways. He was just on today. He was just dialed in and focused. It was awesome to see.”

Desai had to win a playoff, which lasted four holes, on Sept. 23 in the Conference 44 tournament to advance to regionals, and he certainly made the most of his opportunity.

Wilkins said that Desai had 11 pars and 7 bogeys, and was just very consistent all day. Wilkins said that he got into some trouble on the 14th hole, but chipped in for a par from the fringe.

“It was a really nice shot,” Wilkins said. “We work on that, and tell them don’t just chip it up there, try to chip it in.”

Wilkins said he was also very proud of Fultz and Dotson and the great seasons that they had.

He said sending a golfer to states is great for the program, and the Generals have a young team.

“Hopefully the kids will see what Yash did, and it will make them want to play even more,” Wilkins said. “Hopefully, it will help all the kids.”

Rappahannock, the host school, won the team event with a 319. Altavista was second with a 329, while Luray was third with a 340. The top two teams advance to the state tournament, and the top six individuals who aren’t on the top two teams.

Wilkins said there was a playoff for the last two individual spots among three golfers who shot a 79.

The Group 1A and 2A state tournaments will be held on Oct. 12 and 13 at Golden Eagle Golf Club in Irvington. Strasburg freshman Austin Stickles and Central senior Joseph Plauger will be participating in the 2A state tournament. Sherando junior Brett Loy will be playing in the Group 4A state tournament on Oct. 12 and 13 at Glenrochie Country Club in Abingdon.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com