Generals excited for state golf tournament

NEW MARKET — Stonewall Jackson’s golf team is peaking at the best time possible.

Next Monday and Tuesday, the Generals will play in the Group 1A state tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg. They are two rounds away from a potential state title.

Stonewall Jackson junior Yash Desai advanced to the state tournament last year individually, but said he’s very excited the whole team is going this year.

“It’s a great feeling,” Desai said. “Last year I went as an individual, and it just didn’t feel right. This year we’re going as team. It’s going to be really fun.”

The Generals advanced to the state tournament by shooting a 349 and finishing second at the 1A East Region tournament earlier this week at London Downs Golf Course in Altavista.

Stonewall Jackson had played there in the Conference 44 tournament a week earlier and finished second by 26 strokes to Altavista. In the regionals they finished only one shot behind Altavista and qualfied as a team for the state tournament.

“We definitely knew that we could improve our team scoring,” Stonewall Jackson junior Nick Dotson said. “We haven’t shown our best yet. I think we were thankful for our second chance and got back out there and showed what we had and we almost got first at regionals.”

Dotson once again led the way for the Generals shooting an 83, and finished fifth individually in the tournament. Desai shot an 85 and senior Lukas Fultz had an 86.

Stonewall Jackson coach Steve Burkholder said that junior Kayley Romick’s round was just as important as she shot a 95.

“Her round very was drifting toward that 105 range,” Burkholder said of Romick. “She was able to keep it at 95, which was really good becaue it was heading in the wrong direction toward the end, But she held it together. I think she finished 1-over on the last three holes. So that was really good for her to keep it there.”

The Generals will be one of four teams in the state tournament — Altavista, Region 1A West champion George Wythe and Region 1A West runner-up Auburn are the others. There will also be 12 individuals playing in the two-day state tournament.

Stonewall Jackson knows the course at Heritage Oaks pretty well. The Generals only played there once this season, the first tournament of the year, but have played there numerous times over the last few years and many of the players have played there some on their own as well.

“It’s a huge advantage,” Desai said. “I’ve played there about 10 times, my teammates probably around there. I think we should be able to take advantage of that and play to our fullest. It’s one of my favorite courses. I just hope I can do my best there.”

Burkholder said that the Generals were going to practice there twice this week, and would then have another practice round, which every team will have, on Sunday.

The Generals finished second in the Group 2A state tournament in 2013. Fultz, Stonewall Jackson’s lone senior this year, said he wasn’t playing golf at the time but he remembers how well that team did that season.

“Being able to be the next group that does that feels pretty good,” Fultz said.

He said that he thought the regional tournament would probably be his last time playing high school golf.

“Going in I was like ‘well this is probably the last time I’ll play golf,'” Fultz said. “I looked at the scores, and I was like ‘oh my God we’re going to states.'”

Fultz said he’s excited to have two more rounds of golf, playing with his teammates at the state tournament.

Burkholder said the Generals did not play well in their only tournament at Heritage Oaks this season, but he said he’s hoping things will turn out just like they did at London Downs.

“Last week they were looking forward to another chance at London Downs I think they’re looking forward to another chance at Heritage Oaks,” Burkholder said. “It was our first tournament of the season and they shot a 366, which is what we shot at the conference tournament. I think that they’re looking forward to that second shot at Heritage and that little bit of redemption for them.”

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