By JOSH SIGLER KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — Kyle Dunphy was trying to re-write history. Nick Wooley was trying to recapture his days of old. In the end, it was Wooley who prevailed.
Wooley backed Saturday’s 68 at American Legion G.C. with a 77 Sunday at Wildcat Creek G.C. to finish with a two-day total of three-over-par 145 and claim his first Howard County Men’s Golf Tournament title.
“I really didn’t know what to expect because I’ve been tinkering with a new swing a little bit,” Wooley said. “This was one of my goals for the year. I don’t know what else to say. I got to spend the last two rounds playing with my best friend Ryan Newell. If I couldn’t win it I was pulling for him. Words can’t really say how I feel.”
Dunphy entered the weekend seeking his third straight county golf title, something that hadn’t been accomplished since Bob Resener did it in 1930-32, the first three years of the tournament’s existence. It wasn’t to be, as Dunphy carded 78s during both rounds to finish in a tie for eighth place.
“I didn’t hit the ball the best,” Dunphy said. “I scrambled around Saturday and didn’t make any double bogeys, but had nine bogeys to go with my eight-over 78. [Sunday] I hit it pretty well, but got in trouble a couple times to end up with the six-over 78. I’m not disappointed. It was a lot of fun and another good year. There’s a lot of talent out here, and hopefully I can win the club championship over at Chippendale. That’s one victory I haven’t had yet.”
Ray Poat finished in second place with a 150 (71-79). Joshua Kinney also had a 150 (78-72), but dropped to third after a backup. Newell (71-80-151) took fourth, and Jeff Zimmerman (72-80-152) rounded out the top five.
Wooley graduated from Taylor High School, and directly after finishing his studies at Anderson University, worked his way into becoming the club pro at Anderson Country Club. A few years into the job, he found himself at a crossroads, a place where he no longer felt he could pursue golf with 100-percent effort and enthusiasm.
“I started playing golf when I was a little kid, and it’s always something I love doing,” Wooley explained. “I got into the golf business right out of college, and it was just one of those things where I’d been in it for six years and kinda got burned out. Last year, I finally got my amateur status back, and this year I’ve rededicated myself to the game. I started working with [Cary] Hungate out at [Kokomo] Country Club, and we’ve changed my swing a lot. I got a little loose there at the end, but I played pretty well all [weekend].”
The weekend also belonged to the Parton family. Rick Parton shot a two-day total of 148 (74-74) to claim top honors in the senior division. The 60-year-old was playing in the senior flight for the first time. He claimed the open division championship last year.
Not to be outdone, Rick’s son Troy shot a 152 (73-79) to win the open division, Troy’s second title in the division in three years.
Troy, 33, picked up the game from his father about 10 years ago, and the rest is history.
“I’d been a baseball player growing up, and he’s followed me around all those years. I never even knew he liked golf until I went off to college,” explained Troy, who pitched at Taylor High School and Butler University. “He got the clubs back out after I went off to college and started playing a lot. I started to play with him after I came home from college. So, I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out.”
The duo played their Saturday round together at American Legion, where Troy shot his course best, a three-over 73, topping his dad by one stroke, but leaving both in first place in their divisions heading into Sunday’s final round.
“It’s a great time,” Rick said. “It’s been special for a number of years. I keep telling my wife that [Troy] will call me to go play golf before he calls his buddies, and as long as I’m still walking and able to do it I will play with him. ... He was a very good baseball player, and to see him translate that into golf is [nice to see]. He works at it. He is a good person, and I am proud to be his dad.”