Patriot golfers resilient

Rather than bury his head in the sand, Garrett Dailey willed his way through a temporary setback.

And as feel-good stories go, the senior from Parkersburg South is a qualifier for next week’s state golf tournament.

“I made it just in time,” Dailey said. “I’ve played varsity tennis since my freshman year and varsity golf since my sophomore year, and never made it to states in anything.

“To do it in golf is really special because I didn’t start playing until my freshman year.”

Less than a month ago, Dailey experienced a demotion because his scores weren’t low enough to make the starting lineup. Not only did he sit out a tri-meet with Parkersburg and Marietta, but he also missed out on the Two River Athletic Conference championship.

“I went through a tough stretch of golf there for a little while,” Dailey said. “Watching something like that motivates you and I knew I needed to be back in.”

Dailey is the same individual who took so much pride in his City Cup matches that each year he pulled out his Sharpie and wrote his results on the same pack of Big Red gum. All four of his victories are on record as he became the first Patriot to go 4-0 at the event.

His 89 at Monday’s regional meet wasn’t the ideal score, but it factored in as South claimed the championship.

And take this into account, if he had not parred his final four holes, the Patriots may not have qualified.

“You really want to grind it out when it could be your last golf event in high school,” Dailey said. “So coming down the stretch, I knew I had to do something special.”

Dailey surely will receive a good ribbing from his grandfather, Richard Carpenter, who is the reason why he pursued the sport and put baseball on the backburner.

“I’m sure my grandpa is proud of the team and I think for me for making it,” Dailey said.

“But I know when I go have lunch with him he will give it to me for playing so terrible. I’ll laugh it off and tell him I have his back at states.”

Another South senior making plans for Wheeling next week is Noah Smith, who was not necessarily a household name with South golf until he experienced a growth spurt of nearly 4 inches in the offseason.

“I was short,” Smith said. “We figured out I gained about 45 yards off the tee this year and that helped a lot.”

With the assistance of his long-time golf coach, Ron Richards, Smith competed in every South meet this season.

“Ron Richards is the reason where I am – he taught me how to play,” Smith said.

“My main goal when I began as a freshman was to be on the team that made it to state and contribute. Time was running out.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com