Shady Spring state champion golfer Todd Duncan is used to dealing with adversity, both on the links and on the hardwood.
Last week, however, Duncan, along with countless athletes all across the country, were hit with a level of adversity that at one time could have never been imagined.
On the very day that Duncan and his teammates were to play Westside in a Region 3 co-final for a trip to the boys high school basketball state tournament, the sports landscape was turned upside down by the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
Games were suspended around the state, and with each passing day the prospects of any high school sports being played the remainder of the school year appear less and less likely.
“I have been really bummed out because we had a good chance to do something in basketball,” Duncan said. “I haven’t been doing much since the season was suspended. I have been trying to get out on the golf course, but it is all just kind of a bummer.”
While the junior sharpshooter’s ability to stay primed for basketball has been hampered by gyms and recreation centers being forced to close, Duncan has made use of the free time to sharpen the game he loves — golf.
“I didn’t get to play hardly any during (basketball) season, maybe one round here and there,” Duncan said. “Since the coronavirus took over, I have played about seven or eight rounds recently. Not going to school and being home all day with nice weather, I can play all day long if I want to. It is helping me get ready for the summer, but it is just weird right now.”
So far, golf courses have yet to fall victim to the strict guidelines put in place by the government since it’s played in open air with a limited group of people.
“I got lucky with that,” Duncan admitted. “Hopefully the virus goes away soon because who knows what will be canceled. This is a big summer for me. Hopefully it will be OK to play.”
Duncan will be the defending Class AA individual state champion his senior season, so the upcoming summer will be an important time for Duncan.
“I have two big tournaments at Pinehurst with a lot of college scouts there,” Duncan said. “I have the (West Virginia) Amateur and the (West Virginia) Open. I am exempt for both of those this year. I will also be playing four or five (American Junior Golf Association) events outside of West Virginia, just to get my name out more.”
Clearly it is an exciting time for Duncan, who will stepping out on golf’s biggest stages in front of numerous college coaches.
“I can’t wait. I think this is going to be one of my favorite golf summers so far with some of these tournaments being much bigger than what I am used to playing,” Duncan said. “It is very nerve wracking, though, because I want to perform my best in front of the big dogs.”
College contact has been limited so far, but will accelerate as the summer heats up. Right now, there are a couple schools that have caught Duncan’s attention in the early stages.
One of the early contenders is Georgia Southern, which already has a West Virginia flare with current State Am champion and Bridgeport native Mason Williams on the roster, as well as former Westside standout Colin Bowles.
“That is a place I would love to go. I love it down there,” Duncan said about Georgia Southern. “West Virginia is always a top choice, but being down south and playing all year-round. That would be a dream come true.”
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