State Amateur: Busy year ahead for Bluefield's Dent
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - David Nicholas "Nick" Dent has a busy year ahead of him, which begins today during a trip to Bluefield State College.
His reward for finishing fourth in the 94th State Amateur on Thursday is preparing for his first year as a college golf coach for the Big Blues.
"We're having a meeting (today)," said the 22-year-old Dent, who is less than three months removed from graduating from Bluefield. "I don't know if my golf game will improve. I'll still get to play a decent amount."
Dent graduated from Greenbrier East High School in 2009, a few months after the Spartans won the Region 3 championship. A transfer from Summers County High School following his sophomore year, Dent went to Bluefield where he was all-West Virginia Conference as a sophomore, junior and senior.
He went to Bluefield's athletic director and asked him about coaching the team, knowing that three-year coach Vic Sorrell (2010-12) was going to resign.
This is when the challenges begin for Dent, who will have to give up his forecaddie position at the Greenbrier - which he's done since the age of 12 - but still should be able to work some in the bag room at the Sporting Club.
He takes over a program that is leaving the WVC and will become a member of the NCAA Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference beginning in 2014, which, Dent said, creates "a tough travel schedule." For one season, the Big Blues will be independent.
What's more is Bluefield doesn't have dormitories. Dent, as well as many of the other athletes at the school, lived at a former hotel in Bluefield - Mountain View student residence.
Fortunately, his recruiting selling point has some positives, like the home course being Fincastle Country Club in Bluefield, Va., and the engineering program at Bluefield.
"I'm just looking for guys willing to get better," he said. "When I was in high school I didn't hit in the 70s every round."
Dent said he'll be returning to play in the 95th State Amateur in 2014.
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CHARLESTON'S Bosten Miller recently finished his first year of medical school at Marshall, which means he might be taking a break from the State Amateur.
"It depends, if I have time off, I can sneak up here," said Miller, who finished seventh, guaranteeing him a spot in next year's Amateur. "It's disappointing coming up here and I didn't really play that well. I knew this might be my last real try at it for a few years."
Miller's father Scott is a cardiologist in Charleston, while the 23-year-old Bosten is leaning toward radiology.
"Hopefully I'll be able to play in the Am or the Open, one of the two," Miller said. "I'll be studying for my first board exam early in the summer and, in the summer we start doing our rotations."
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MORGANTOWN resident John Duty Jr. spent Thursday caddying for best friend Sam O'Dell, who won his first State Amateur championship.
In 2014, Duty hopes to be playing in the Amateur.
"I'm actually going to start playing again," Duty said. "I can't wait to start playing again."
The 38-year-old Duty has five top-10 finishes in the Amateur, but hasn't played since tying for 24th in 2009. He and his wife adopted a baby boy - now five-year-old Caleb Brian Duty - and he was busy being a father.
"Since he's been born, I've played none," said Duty, whose father John Duty Sr. finished tied for 35 on Thursday. "I named him after my brother, who passed away."
During a deer-hunting trip on Thanksgiving Day in 2003, Duty's 40-year-old brother suffered a heart attack and died.
"He died in my arms," Duty said. "We did CPR on him for about 45 minutes until we could get the fire department and ambulance out there. We were seven miles out in the woods. It was awful. Worst day of my life."
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BRIDGEPORT native Woody Woodward begins his career at Wake Forest University this year and wanted an Amateur championship to take with him.
He finished six strokes behind and tied for second with Hurricane's Brian Anania.
"Same old, same old, sitting here in second," said Woodward, who finished eighth at the State Open earlier this year. "Not really the happiest guy out there.
"Like I've told people, I didn't really come here to finish in the top five or top 10. I came here to win."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.