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Tunstall closes in on Piedmont District crown
Trojans beat Patrick County by 11 strokes at Forest Park CC
Tunstall’s Randy Gibson watches his tee shot on the 10th hole at Forest Park Country Club on Tuesday in Martinsville. Gibson shot the low round of the day with a 1-over 73, while the Trojans took the team match over Patrick County by 11 strokes. (Bulletin photo by Mark Thompson)
After what Tunstall High School golf coach Dave Myers called a aberration — the Trojans team score of 348 at Bassett Country Club — he came up with a new game plan for the Piedmont District match Tuesday at Forest Park Country Club.
At Bassett, the Trojans ran into each others’ pairings on the course and shared throughout the match how poorly each was playing.
“In golf, you can’t play with a negative attitude,” Myers said. “So we talked today on the bus, if you do see someone on the course, I don’t care if you’re 15-over (par). Tell them you’re doing great, smile and throw them a high-five.”
Turns out the Trojans didn’t need the added measure, as they carded the three lowest scores and beat the next closest team — Patrick County — by 11 strokes.
That score pushed Tunstall’s overall lead to 20 strokes heading into the final match of the regular season at Chatmoss Country Club.
Of course, it could just as well be a two-stroke lead in the eyes of Tunstall’s players.
“We still have to play well,” Tunstall junior Randy Gibson said. “(Patrick County) can still come back. Bad rounds add up.”
Gibson shot the lowest score of the day, a 73, this following his 97 at Bassett Country Club.
That’s a 24-stroke difference, more than one stroke of improvement per hole.
So what did Gibson do differently?
“I hit the ball solid and I putted decent,” Gibson. “Last time was just bad everything. Everything was horrible.”
Gibson, who can put himself in good position off the tee box with the length of his drives, scored the best on par 5s. He birdied two of them.
He was anything but horrible Tuesday. Part of that might be due to Myers’ other gameplan.
Myers examined his team scores over the other previous PD golf matches this season and decided to seed his players in what he thought would yield the best results.
Eric Squier was placed in the No. 1 group, while Gibson played from the No. 2 spot and Casey Dillon from the third spot. Those three and No. 5 golfer Chandler Wilkins’ 81 led the Trojans to a combined team score of 306.
“Coach said on the bus that he had looked and when he paired us this way, it was the best as a group that we had done. Maybe not individually, but as a group,” Squier said. “Obviously it’s true.”
Though Tunstall has a big lead with one match left, Patrick County has the firepower to make a run at the lead. The Cougars have two coaches poll preseason player of the year candidates in Wendell Hutchens and Tyler Shough, but they just didn’t put it together Tuesday.
Hutchens, Shough and Damion Beasley — the team’s No. 5 golfer — tied atop the team’s scoreboard, each with a 78.
Nick Dalton rounded out PCHS’ score of 317 with an 83.
“Our goal was to chip away (at Tunstall’s lead), maybe three or four shots, just to put us in contention at Chatmoss,” Hutchens said.
Martinsville finished third in the match, led by Austin White’s 82 and Cody Martin’s 84. Forest Park Country Club used to be the home of the Bulldogs, though they still practice there three times a week.
Bassett finished fourth in the match with a team score of 350 and Magna Vista fell in fifth with 374.
“We’re a litle dissapointed,” Hutchens said. “We all had a couple of big holes out there. ... Hats off to Tunstall. They were clutch today.”
Even with a 20-stroke lead, the Trojans know they will need a little more of that in the district’s final match of the season just to be safe.
Forest Park Country Club, Par 72
(Top ten finishers in parenthesis)
Tunstall — 306
1. Randy Gibson — 73 (1st)
2. Eric Squier — 76 (T-2nd)
3. Casey Dillon — 76 (T-2nd)
4. Chandler Wilkins — 81 (7th)
Patrick County — 317
1. Tyler Shough — 78 (T-4th)
2. Wendell Hutchens — 78 (T-4th)
3. Damion Beasley — 78 (T-4th)
4. Nick Dalton — 83 (9th)
Martinsville — 344
1. Austin White — 82 (8th)
2. Cody Martin — 84 (T-10th)
3. Kylan Roberts — 89
4. Tyler Hairston — 89
Bassett — 350
1. Nick Williamson — 84 (T-10th)
2. Josh Hearn — 85
3. Brandon Wimbish — 87
4. Cody Prillaman — 89
Magna Vista — 374
1. Drew Thacker — 87
2. Cullen Moran — 92
3. Brandon Taylor — 96
4. Taylor Wall — 99