In the Bag
Weddington’s Yelverton capped career with county’s best season
by Ron Brown
There was a time when a young Tiger Woods was featured on “The Mike Douglas Show,” a daytime television talk show that aired from 1961-1982. Woods’ father, Earl, brought him to show off his outstanding golf talents on television. After years of hard work, Woods eventually made it to the PGA Tour and has been pretty good since.
While he didn’t debut his talents on national television, Wedddington High School’s Matt Yelverton was 9 years old when he started playing golf seriously. He caught the bug by being part of a golfing family; both his mom, Penny, and dad, Dave, play regularly, and the family has a membership at Monroe’s Rolling Hills Country Club.
As was the case with Woods all those years ago, Yelverton is fueled by a dream of one day playing on the PGA Tour.
During his senior season this spring, Yelverton emerged as one of the top high school golfers in the area. He had an overall match-play average of 37 strokes per nine holes and earned Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He also qualified for the Class 3A state tournament for the second time, finishing fifth with a two-round total of 144.
Yelverton’s strong season solidified his selection as Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2011 Union County Weekly Boys Golfer of the Year.
“Matt is an outstanding golfer,” said Weddington golf coach Allen Plyler. “But he is also a great person and student, and he is a tremendous role model for all of our younger players.”
Calling Yelverton a great student is a bit of an understatement; he graduated this spring in the top 10 of his class with a 4.85 GPA.
This fall, Yelverton will enroll at Gardner-Webb University to play golf on the college level, joining his brother, Danny, who is a standout baseball player for the Bulldogs.
While he isn’t totally sure where his studies will lead him at Gardner-Webb, he does know the value of what he will receive in his partial sports scholarship.
“I have been able to get to know Coach (Tee) Burton at Gardner-Webb pretty well,” said Yelverton. “He is a great guy and coach who is always positive. He will help me take my game to the next level, he is an outstanding coach and I can’t wait to get there and start working hard to be in the lineup for every match as a freshman.”
Matt has already had a busy summer preparing for his first season with the Bulldogs while also working toward his ultimate goal of making the PGA Tour. He recently finished in a tie for 24th place in the North Carolina Amateur, scoring a four-day total of 4 under par. In the N.C. Junior Match Play tournament, Yelverton qualified as the eighth seed and ended up losing in the third round. He also shot a 68 while qualifying for the Carolinas Amateur Tournament, scheduled for July 14-17 at Myrtle Beach’s Dunes Golf and Beach Club.
To date, Yelverton’s lowest score both in a playing round and a competitive tournament round is 67, most recently at the North Carolina Amateur last week at Greensboro Country Club’s Farm Course.
As Yelverton is readying for the next step in his golf career, he reflected back on those around him who have made his success in golf possible.
“I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without the help and support of my parents,” said Yelverton. “Especially my mom. She has been at every single event I have ever competed in. She is a real trouper. It has been a great run so far, and I couldn’t have done it without her.”