Generals in third place after first day of state golf tourney

Stonewall Jackson's Yash Desai watches his tee shot on the third hole Monday during the Group 1A state golf tournament. Desai shot a 98. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

HARRISONBURG – Stonewall Jackson’s golf team didn’t have its best day Monday on the opening round of the Group 1A state golf tournament, but they are still in contention for a trophy.

The Generals shot a 395 and are in third place after the first day of the two-day state tournament held at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg. The tournament concludes at 9 a.m. today.

“I’m pretty optimistic for (Tuesday) that they can play better,” Stonewall Jackson coach Steve Burkholder said. “They just got to be able to convince themselves that they can play better, because I know that they can and they know they can. It’s just believing that they can and will.”

Slow starts proved costly for most of the six Stonewall Jackson golfers. Stonewall Jackson’s Yash Desai and Lukas Fultz each shot a 98, while Nick Dotson shot a 99.

“Confidence is such a huge thing in golf, and a lot of players lost that pretty early and it’s tough to regain it,” Burkholder said.

Stonewall Jackson's Nick Dotson watches his tee shot on the third hole Monday during the Group 1A state golf tournament. Dotson shot a 99. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

Burkholder said he told them that they need to keep their composure even when they’re having a tough round.

“A couple of them you could just see in their body language that they’re not used to shooting like this, they’re not used to scoring like this,” Burkholder said. “I told them you don’t know what’s going to happen. With that kind of body language and once you lose it mentally then you do know what’s going to happen. I’d rather leave it up for chance and see what happens rather than count yourself out in the middle of your round, which is a lot easier said than done.”

Desai, who played in the state tournament individually last year, said that he’s been struggling lately and the struggled continued on Monday.

“I knew it was going to be rough when I hit two chips on the first hole. So chipping was bad all day,” Desai said. “I’ve been hitting bad shots for a long time now. I just can’t get my stroke back. I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope I can find it by (Tuesday).”

Fultz said he struggled with his swing and let it affect the rest of his game.

Stonewall Jackson's Nick Dotson attempts a putt on the fourth hole during the Group 1A state golf tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course on Monday. The Generals shot a 395 and are in third place. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

“I’ve been struggling with my swing all year, and today it was really bad combined with the wind it was just pushing my ball all over the place,” Fultz said. “I was getting frustrated and losing my cool and started hitting some really bad shots without paying much attention.”

Dotson said he also struggled with his swing.

“I think something in my swing was just a little off, and I just never really found it, never was able to get it clicking,” Dotson said. “I really just struggled making solid contact all day long. At the end of the day I kind of got it figured out and finished somewhat strong on the last two holes. It was just rough, but I’m just thankful that I have an opportunity (Tuesday) to go make up for (Monday).”

One bright spot for the Generals was the play of Alan Arnesen, the six seed, who shot a 100 for the fourth-best score. Only the top four scores count toward the team scores.

“That was awesome. Alan came through, what a time to come through and help us out,” Burkholder said. “He played really well. He must have played pretty consistent to shoot that today. On a day when nobody was really playing their best he really did, which was pretty good.”

Stonewall Jackson’s Lukas Fultz hits his approach shot on the seventh hole Monday during the Group 1A state golf tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course. Fultz shot a 98. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

Stonewall Jackson’s Kayley Romick shot a 101 and teammate Blake Rice shot a 116.

George Wythe shot a 322 and is in first place by 48 strokes. Altavista is in second place with a 370. Auburn is the fourth team in the tournament, but one of their players was unable to make it and they only have players on their roster to begin with. So they are disqualified from the team competition.

George Wythe’s Chris Boothe shot a 71 and leads the individual competition by three strokes.

The top two teams get a trophy and Desai said that will help motivate the Generals to perform better in the second round.

“We have a chance to get runner-up,” Desai said. “So, I’m going to come out here (Tuesday) and play extra hard to bring home a trophy to Stonewall.”

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

Stonewall Jackson’s Kayley Romick watches her tee shot on the ninth hole during the Group 1A state golf tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course on Monday. Romick shot a 101. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily