Golf Coach of the Year: James Wood's David Oates

James Wood’s David Oates — The Winchester Star Golf Coach of the Year for the second time, last earning the award in 2013 — led a Colonels team that was the only one in the area to play in a region tournament. In their first regional tournament appearance since 2013, the Colonels placed sixth in the Region 4C tournament. James Wood qualified for it by placing third to grab the final regional qualifying spot at the seven-team Class 4 Northwestern District tournament. James Wood placed fourth in the district in the regular season.

James Wood posted a record of 36-45-3 after going 7-50-2 last year, improving its stroke average by 25 in the process.

The Colonels’ regular season highlights included winning a six-team competition involving Sherando, Millbrook, Handley, Warren County and Skyline on Sept. 18 at Blue Ridge Shadows; winning a quad against Clarke County, Strasburg and Madison County on Sept. 14 at Blue Ridge; tying for first with Handley in a five-team competition involving Williamsport (Md.), Clear Spring (Md.) and Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) at Cacapon Golf Course on Sept. 7 in Berkeley Springs; and tying for first with Tuscarora in a quad with Millbrook and Liberty on Aug. 28 at Blue Ridge.

Q. How did this season go based on your preseason expectations?

Oates: It went a lot better than expected, because I didn’t know what to expect after last year. As the season went along, we got better and better.

Q. Any particular competition that you thought was significantly important?

Oates: [Winning at Blue Ridge against the local schools on Sept. 18] was a real turning point for us. Jacob [Karen] transferred in from [Randolph-Macon Academy in late August] and really helped us, but we beat all the local teams that day and his score didn’t count. That’s not belittling Jacob, but that’s when we knew that locally, we could compete with everybody.

Q. Most memorable moment?

Oates: Easily the district tournament. It was going to be either us, Sherando or Handley getting the third qualifying spot, because we had all played so close all year. It was our day, and it meant a lot to make it to regionals after not doing it in four years.

Q. Next year’s team loses only two seniors, No. 1 golfer Tyler Mounts, and Logan Harper. What are your expectations for next year based on what’s coming back?

Oates: We’re really excited. Tyler‘s a huge loss. He was a total success story for us. But our stroke average this year improved by 25 strokes, and we’ve got a lot of kids coming back. I’ve got some kids who were on the cusp of breaking through this year. I’ve got a couple kids who contributed last year but struggled this year. And I think I’ve got at least one or two good freshmen coming in, so our program is really excited.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki


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