Nick Gunnell finished as second-place medalist to help guide Surry Community College to a 12th-place finish April 3 in the Intercollegiate Golf Championship at Camp Lejeune.
Gunnell shot blistering rounds of 69, 74 and 72 in the 54-hole event to finish second on the Scarlet Course with a three-day score of 215. He finished just two strokes off the place of Shenandoah’s Evan Cocke.
Jack Edwards finished strong for Surry after a first-day round of 82. Scores of 76 and 74 on Saturday and Sunday brought his total score to 232. SCC’s Wesley Brown and Joseph Marion both shot in the 70s on Sunday with Marion carding a 76 and Brown recording a 79.
“We had all freshmen so I didn’t think we would finish on top of the totem pole,” Surry golf coach Tom Pendergraft said. “But Nick Gunnell had a very strong tournament and Jack Edwards was in the hunt for medalist. Those two guys had good rounds.”
Surry did get better as the tournament progressed. The Knights started with team scores of 311 and 316 on Friday and Saturday, but responded on the final day with a team round of 301 as all four team members with qualifying rounds shot in the 70s.
“Seeing my team gel with four guys in the 70s was a plus. That’s what I was hoping for, to see them in a high-pressure tournament and to see them improve and compete,” Pendergraft said. “We gelled that last day and wound up shooting a 301, which is where we need to be in order to be competitive. We are there now as we get ready for the Region X Championship.”
Pendergraft said the Camp Lejeune Tournament, which is by invitation only, was very interesting for his team as they were paired with retired military personnel on Friday and Saturday.
“It just so happened on our team the number three amateur was a Brigadier General of the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a senior strategy advisor and I was flabbergasted when I found out,” Pendergraft said. “Joseph Marion played with him and he came to me and said, ‘Do you know what rank this guy is? Why didn’t you tell me?’ I told him because I knew he would be so nervous he couldn’t hit the golf ball.”
While on the military base, Surry’s golfers also received a tour of a military gun museum.
“The kids were just amazed,” Pendergraft said. “It was very interesting for our students just to see what it’s like on a military base, things they had no idea about.”