GARNER — Sophomore Nick Gunnell turned in the best one-day score Sunday to help Surry Community College finish fourth in the fall golf opener at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Garner.
Nine teams took part in the two-day tournament, including three Division I and four Division II teams, in a matchup of Region X squads. Gunnell, a sophomore from Starmount High School, finished second overall among all golfers with a two-day score of 144. His three-under par score of 68 on Sunday was the lowest 18-hole total over the weekend tournament.
“Truthfully, Nick got off to a rough start on day one with a 76. I knew for a fact he was good for a 72 or 73, and he turns around and shoots a 68 the next day,” Surry golf coach Tom Pendergraft said.
The rest of the Knights followed Gunnell’s lead. After shooting an opening team round of 317 on Saturday, Surry knocked 18 strokes off that total Sunday with a 299. It was good enough to finish with a team score of 616, just seven strokes off Cape Fear Community College’s winning total of 609. Richard Bland CC placed second with a 610, followed by Patrick Henry Community College (613), Surry, Sandhills CC (619), Johnston CC (641), Wake Tech (676), Central Carolina CC (692) and Fayetteville Tech (711).
“It was 7,000 yards, a long golf course and every hole had an out of bounds. Looking at our scores we shot a 299 on day two. If we had have had a day one with a 299 we would have been the number one team,” Pendergraft said. “I had three freshmen playing and I feel sure there were a lot of nerves, but they settled down and improved by 18 strokes, so I was extremely pleased.”
Dylan Ray, a freshman from Forbush High School, carded the second best two-day score for Surry with a 155. Jack Edwards, a sophomore from North Surry, finished with a 158, while Mount Airy freshman Chris Dorsett fired a 160 and Dylan Brown finished with a 166 for the tourney.
“It was a good event. I think we gained something and I am pleased with their performance,” Pendergraft said. “This is my A team. My A team will rest and I have a tourney in two weeks and I will carry my B team. I think some of them may take the place of some of my guys on the A team. I’m excited about the options of putting them together for an even stronger team. It’s good for competition.”
Also competing and impressing Pendergraft was Alexis Freeman, a freshman from Forbush. Despite joining the team as an unrecruited player, she finished ninth out of 15 females in the weekend tournament. Like her male counterparts, she played much better on day two.
“I think she was extremely nervous on day one and the girls’ distance was 5,900 yards. She had never played that kind of competition or distance, but she hung in there,” Pendergraft said. “I was really pleased and she is really excited about it. I think she is coachable and I think by the end of the year or beginning of fall, she will have curved at least five or six strokes off her game.”