DOBSON — Surry Community College’s Dylan Wooten improved his score every day to finish 59th out of 132 golfers in the NJCAA Men’s Golf National Championship Tournament held May 21-24 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.
Wooten, a sophomore from Alleghany, led a trio of Surry Community College golfers who qualified for the national tournament. Freshman Evan Marion (North Surry) placed 78th with a four-day score of 321, while fellow Surry freshman and former West Wilkes golfer Andrew Johnson came in 86th with a tournament score of 324.
Anthony Durham, who completed his first season as Surry’s head coach, thought the Knights made an extremely competitive showing, especially considering the weather that wreaked havoc on players’ scores the first three days of the tourney. It was also the first time in a national tournament for Durham and all three Surry players.
“The biggest trouble was just the weather. We had three of four days that were rainy and wind blowing 20 miles an hour. Then Friday, the weather cleared out and everybody’s scores went lower, but the weather was not our friend,” Durham said. “It was a great experience for everybody. It was everybody’s first time at the nationals (for us). I think there were 130-some kids there and that is a lot of really good golfers. I think the guys held up pretty well considering the conditions, and the course was not the easiest in the world, either. When wind is blowing 15 or 20 miles per hour constantly and each day it is blowing in a different direction, it makes for a long day.”
Wooten began the tournament May 21 with an 18-hole round of 81. He improved by a stroke on May 22 and trimmed another off the following day for a 79. On the final day of the tournament, Wooten took advantage of the good weather with a 76, three shots better than his previous best in Indiana. Marion tied Wooten’s best round with a 76 the second day, while Johnson carded rounds of 78 and 79 during the nationals.
“I am proud of all of them. I think they all did really well. I know everybody wanted to do better, but considering everything it was a good experience for them,” Durham said. “I think the trip was good. Maybe the weather was not the most enjoyable, but I think they all had a good time and hopefully it will get them prepared more for next year.”