Joyner named WDN Golfer of the Year
By By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
Terra Ceia’s four-year golf captain is done with the prep level, but Derek Joyner may be finding greener pastures soon.
Tuesday he’ll be participating in the North Carolina Open in Raleigh, a three-day golf tournament with some of the best golfers in the state.
Joyner graduated Friday from Terra Ceia. He’s been selected as the Daily News golfer of the year for the second consecutive season.
He scored his two lowest rounds in his senior season. His last match of his prep career was a 64 — his best game yet — which was good for second in the state. He lost the 1-A tournament by one stroke after leading for much of the tourney.
Joyner first joined the Knights’ golf team in the seventh grade, but he’s been an avid golfer since he could swing.
His parents, Jim and Rita Joyner, played big roles in his development as a golf player. Summers were spent on the golf course. Derek Joyner’s mom would drop him off at the country club on her way to work and pick him up when she got off that evening.
Mark Lilley, a friend of the Joyner family, encouraged Derek Joyner to pursue the sport early on.
Lilley was a minister at Joyner’s church and convinced the Joyners to get a membership at the Washington Yacht and Country Club so that Derek could work on his game at the club’s links.
The River Road course is almost a second home to Joyner, who now works at the country club.
Hole 10 is where he’s come the closest to scoring a hole in one.
Along with Lilley, Joyner credits a slew of mentors for his training, including coaches, former teammates and club pro Jeremy Shadle.
Joyner plays against Shadle as much as he can.
As a Knight, Joyner has been to the 1-A state tournament every year since making the team in the seventh grade. The top eight teams and the top eight individuals from teams that didn’t make the cut participate in the private school league’s state competition.
In Joyner’s first two seasons, Terra Ceia went undefeated at the state competition, winning back to back state titles. After that season, the team lost several of its stars, and the Knights began rebuilding with Joyner as the team’s leader. Terra Ceia hasn’t been back to states as a team until this year.
Joyner went as an individual during those lulls.
This year he was seeded first and finished second.
Part of Joyner’s successful senior season was tied to his putting, which he says improved along with his confidence. In his freshman year, four spots opened on the team when four seniors graduated. That bumped Joyner up to the number one slot, and he’s held that position at Terra Ceia for all four of his high school seasons.
His one stroke loss in the state tournament was “tough,” Joyner said.
Joyner was up by a stroke going into the last three holes.
Next week, the Terra Ceia stand out will play in the biggest tournament of his career. He’ll be playing against golfers 20 to 30 years older than he, club pros and professionals who have made the cut and made money on the PGA tour.
Joyner said he is considering playing golf for Pitt Community College. He’s been offered a scholarship, but wants to hold off on any decisions until after next week’s tournament.
This summer he plans on packing his schedule with golf tournaments.