HANCEVILLE – Wallace State freshman golfer Sylas Elliott has already made an immediate impact for the Lions. Elliott, a Cullman High graduate, prevailed in a two-hole playoff against Eastern Florida's Mickey DeMorat in his college debut at Cullman Municipal Golf Course on Tuesday, earning low medalist and propelling the Lions to the 2014 Wallace State Fall Invitational championship.
Three rounds weren't enough to determine a winner in Wallace State's fall opener. Elliott and DeMorat each shot a 16-under par 200 after three and also matched each other with pars on the first playoff hole. Elliott outlasted DeMorat during the second playoff, putting in for birdie before DeMorat's birdie attempt fell short of the hole.
Elliott admitted he was anxious during Monday's opening round when he officially teed it up for the first time as a college student. It didn't last long. Elliott, who was named to the all-tournament team, shot an 11-under par 133 through 36 holes on Monday and followed it with a 67 on Tuesday, prior to the playoff.
"My first tee shot was nerve-wracking. I hit it straight out of bounds. I seemed to get the nerves out of the way after that tee shot," Elliott said. "The last two days have been more exciting than I could have imagined. I've looked forward to playing for Wallace State and for coach (Dan) York for a long time. Coach York has taught me how to play golf, and I have a lot of respect for him. He does a great job in getting us prepared. We were prepared for this tournament and we're excited about the fall season."
After finishing as the state champion and NJCAA Division I national runner-up in May, Wallace State kicked off the fall season on its home course in impressive fashion, leading wire-to-wire and defeating runner-up Eastern Florida by eight strokes.
Wallace State shot a 272 and 274 during Monday's opening rounds and finished with a final round 275 for a 54-hole total of 821. Eastern Florida finished with an 829. Darton (Ga.) State College was third with an 858.
"I'm very proud of this team, very proud. I've got 12 guys on the team and each one is an outstanding young man. All 12 are working hard to get better. Even though we lost leadership from a great sophomore class last season, including an individual national champion in Aksel Olsen, I feel we are deeper this year. We have more talent from top to bottom than we've had in forever," said York, a NJCAA Hall of Fame coach in his 28th season at Wallace State. "This was a total team effort and gets me excited about the year.
"Sylas had a tremendous tournament and is a tremendous, young man. I've watched him grow and develop over the years and consider him like a son or grandson. To see what he achieved during his first college tournament is tremendous. I'm very excited for him and his future."
Wallace State sophomore Cooper Brown, the defending individual NJCAA national champion low medalist, was also named to the Fall Invitational all-tournament team after shooting a 10-under 206. He carded a 68-71-67.
Dustin Sanders and Eli Marty each finished with a 208 for the Lions.
Wallace State hosted nine colleges during the two-day event.
The Lions' next tournament is Oct. 5-7 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Tournament in Gulfport, Miss.
Pictured: Wallace State freshman golfer Sylas Elliott drives from the 9th hole Tuesday during the 54-hole Wallace State Fall Invitational. Elliott was the tournament's low medalist after shooting a 200 and winning in a two-hole playoff.