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Darton 4th at districts, punches ticket to nationals

Bill Jones III

Bill Jones III

PENDLETON, S.C. — Hours after securing his program’s 12th straight trip to the NJCAA national tournament, Darton golf coach Bill Jones III could only come up with one word to describe his team’s performance in Tuesday’s final round of the District IV Championship.

“Disgusting,” he said.

And he meant it.

The Cavs, which dominated the Region XVII tournament last week for their 12th straight state title, will be limping into next month’s national tournament after finishing fourth at district with a three-round total of 35-shots over par.

They hung on to a Top 8 finish by just nine shots after shooting a 17-over 301 on Tuesday.

“We thought that region would be a good tune up for (district), and it was,” Jones said. “If we would have had two really good finishes back-to-back to end the season, we would have felt a lot better going into nationals. We just have a lot of work to put in before (nationals).”

Nationals will be held May 12-17 in Lubbock, Texas, and the Cavs, who are ranked eighth in the country, are looking for their first national title in NJCAA Division I. Four rounds similar to Tuesday’s and the Cavs could come back from The Lone Star State with their worst finish at nationals in years.

“We have to get some confidence going,” Jones said. “After a good win at regionals where we got some confidence, we come here and look like this. … We’re so much more talented. We’re just not getting anything out of these rounds.”

No. 4 Brevard Community College won district at 9-over, while No. 1 Central Alabama finished second at 15-over and Wallace State came in third at 28-over.

Darton’s Taylor Martin shot a team-low 72 Tuesday to finish 2-over for the tournament, while Parks Brown carded a 75 to finish 10-over, TaeHyung Kim fired a 76 to finish 6-over and Nick Green shot a 78 to finish 15-over.

Freshman Madison Turner was Darton’s throw-out score in all three rounds and shot an 81 on Tuesday to finish at 26-over, possibly costing himself a trip to nationals.

“Madison and Rob (Robertson) were our 5 and 6 guys, and Madison outplayed Rob at region by a lot of shots but really didn’t do himself any favors by finishing last in every round at district,” Jones said. “It could have made the decision (of who to bring to nationals) a lot easier for us, but now we are back to square one.”

Green was selected to the All-District IV team after a sophomore season where he was medalist at the Faulkner Invitational and consistently stayed the Cavs’ No. 1 player.

“He has had a very good season overall,” Jones said. “He just let a couple of rounds get away from him at the end of the spring after getting off to that hot start.”