Stonewall Jackson’s Dotson tied for seventh at state golf tournament
HARRISONBURG — Nick Dotson put himself in a good position after the first day of the Class 1 golf state championships.
The Stonewall Jackson senior shot a 78 on the first day of the two-day event held at Heritage Oaks Golf Course. He is tied for seventh place overall and is six strokes off the lead.
“I think overall today I did pretty well,” Dotson said. “The course is playing pretty difficult because it’s longer. It’s a little wet out here. It’s hard to hit it off that grass. You see a lot of guys having difficulties. And I knew I was really going to have to focus to do my best and to make sure my ball striking was doing well.”
Stonewall Jackson’s Yash Desai shot an 82 and teammate Alan Arnesen shot a 98. Strasburg’s Austin Stickles shot an 87 in the Class 2 state tournament, which is being held at the same time at Heritage Oaks.
Dotson shot a 38 on the front nine and a 40 on the back nine. Par is 34 on the front nine and 36 on the back nine.
Dotson said he had opportunities to do better and he was a little disappointed with that. Dotson said he had a triple-bogey on 15, and also made a bogey on 13 that he shouldn’t have made.
“I had a three-putt on (13), a par 3,” Dotson said. “I hit the green with my tee shot and I putted down to the hole. And I was within probably two-to-three feet. And I missed the putt. I just kind of rushed. I was the last one on the green. I didn’t quite take my time.”
Dotson did finish strong. He said he had a birdie on 14 and then another birdie on 18 from about 10 feet away.
“I finished strong so I have positive thoughts for tomorrow, since I did make a few mistakes,” Dotson said. “I think I’m looking to improve. Maybe I didn’t have my best stuff today. But I’m going to go out tomorrow, and I’m going to give it my best. And I really hope that it’s good enough.”
Desai said his putting really let him down in his round.
He said he shot a 41 on both the front and back nines.
“On the front I couldn’t get a putt to fall,” Desai said. “I missed four or five putts inside of five feet at least.”
Desai said he began to turn things around on the back nine, and finished with a birdie on No. 18 — his only birdie of the day.
“I think I got it figured out on the last couple holes,” Desai said. “I just need to make the putts I need to make.”
Stickles had a bad start and things didn’t get much better throughout his round. He started his round on the back nine, and had a triple bogey on the 10th hole.
“I hit a good drive, but it just snagged the edge of a tree branch and came straight down,” Stickles said. “I ended up getting a seven on the first one, and I think that might have a little bit to do with how bad I played. When I get off to a bad start, it usually impacts my round.
“Really, today I would, figure out one part of my game and then the other part would start to go downhill. It was just kind of a back and forth kind of thing.”
Arnesen shot a 49 on both the front nine and the back nine. Arnesen said he was happy with a par he made at 16, which he said has usually been a tough hole for him.
Arnesen said he’s looking forward to coming back today and shooting a better round.
“I just need to focus more and really think about how I’m going to hit my shots — and play smart golf,” Arnesen said.
In the Class 1 team tournament, Auburn High School leads with 328 points. The individual leader is Eastside’s Hunter Lansford with a 72.
In the Class 2 tournament there are three teams within four strokes of each other. Union has the lead with a 316, followed by Appomattox County (317) and Poquoson (320). East Rockingham’s Alex Czerwinski leads the individual tournament with a 69.