Generals excited for regional golf tournament

Stonewall Jackson's Nick Dotson watches his tee shot on hole 17 during the Shenandoah County golf meet on Aug. 25 at Bryce Resort. Dotson shot an 82 on Monday to lead Stonewall to second place in the Conference 44 tournament. Brad Fauber/Daily file

NEW MARKET – Stonewall Jackson’s golf team will be very familiar with London Downs Golf Course in Altavista when they play there in Monday’s Group 1A, East Region tournament.

The Generals played there earlier this week in the Conference 44 tournament and did well enough to finish second and earn a regional berth.

Stonewall Jackson junior Nick Dotson placed third in the conference tournament and shot an 82.

“For me, I didn’t love the course. It was definitely a nice course, and I think it will give us an advantage having already played there,” Dotson said. “Especially for me, I have confidence going in after placing third individually on that course already. I think I can really improve upon my round again. So, that will be nice.”

Advancing to regionals didn’t come easily for the Generals. Stonewall Jackson finished tied for second with William Campbell with a 366. Altavista won the tournament with a 340. Only two teams advance to regionals from the conference tournaments.

The Generals and William Campbell had to have a playoff to determine who would finish second as a team and advance to regionals. The top four players from Stonewall Jackson and William Campbell played the first hole, in groups of two. They team with the best total score won, which was Stonewall Jackson.

Stonewall Jackson coach Steve Burkholder said that Dotson and Yash Desai each made par on the playoff hole.

“Their drives were awesome,” Burkholder said. “Nick hit his second shot right next to the water, but it managed to stay in. Then he hit the best chip I’ve seen him hit, probably ever. He hit it 2 inches from the hole and tapped in for par. Then Yash, a little more conventionally, pared the hole. Then William Campbell had a par and bogey.”

That gave the Generals a one-shot lead with two golfers to go. Stonewall Jackson’s Lukas Fultz and Kayley Romick each made a double-bogey on the hole, but one of the William Campbell golfers had a really bad hole and the Generals earned the regional berth.

Fultz said he was a little nervous playing the hole knowing what was at stake.

“My worries were alleviated when I saw a guy from William Campbell hit two tee balls out of bounds,” Fultz said. “At that point I knew I’d be pretty solid as long as I didn’t have any major mistakes.”

Last year the Generals didn’t qualify for regionals as a team, but Dotson, Desai and Fultz qualified individually.

The trio said it was nice to be able to have the whole team going with them this year.

“It’s great, because everyone can get some experience and we can even bond as a team,” Desai said. “So it’s really fun.”

Dotson said he was very happy with his round, which gives him confidence for regionals. He said he shot a birdie, double-par, birdie, birdie on the 15-18 holes.

“I was hitting the ball well and putting it amazingly,” Dotson said. “I don’t think I could have ever replicated what I did.”

Desai, who has led the Generals most of the season, said he didn’t have his best day in the conference tournament but hopes to do much better in regionals. Desai shot an 89, while Fultz shot a 93.

Burkholder said the team has been playing better at the end of the season. He said that they didn’t perform as well as they could have in the conference tournament, which gives them plenty of room for improvement for regionals.

“They’re looking forward to it, kind of another shot, because they didn’t play their best and they know it,” Burkholder said. “So I think they’re looking forward to that other shot. It’s not the easiest course out there, but they’re looking forward to that, to seeing it again and playing it again.”

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