The path that 2014-15 Centralia grad Daymond Dollens took to end up becoming one of the top male golfers at Columbia College isn't your average success tale.
Instead, Dollens journey has several twists and turns that aren't exactly typical, all of which helped combine to have made this past season, his fourth, both his best and his last.
"In 2012 I started the Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams here at Columbia College. In the process I was allowed to hire a part-time assistant and I chose Denaye Dollens who is Daymond’s sister," said Cougars coach John M. Utley. "Having known the Dollen’s family already through their family’s golf successes going back to father Dan being a great player I was also aware Daymond was on the rise to being another great player."
In his initial college season, Fall of 2015, Dollens started out with results that included placing 10th at the Labor Day Intercollegiate at 76-79-70, +9. But, once he got going we was able to do things like lead the team to a third-place finish at the Cougar Classic with a three-over-par total of 72-73=145.
"For nearly 10 years now I have worked the MU Golf Camp as a guest instructor. Daymond attended one of those camps, so I got to watch him first hand for a week and you could tell he was going to be good," Utley said. "He played the game. I continued following his progress through high school. In addition to being a good player Daymond was also a high academic achiever. The combination of the two made him the model student athlete Columbia College looks for."
When it came time for Spring 2016 Dollens was ready and it showed as he shot an 81 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Contender Tournament at the TPC-Four Seasons Las Colinas Golf Course. The former Panther shot a +20, 82-82=164 to tie for 88th at the Challenge at Dalhousie according to www.coulmbiacougars.com, as well.
"Fortunately for both of us Daymond’s academic successes earned him Columbia College’s top Academic Award. Then fortunately for me he chose Columbia College," said Utley. "Daymond expects to be great at everything and is willing to do the work to make that happen. He's a leader. While at CC he joined the Student Government Association and served two terms as President his junior and senior years. During that time he also led the men’s golf team with the lowest stroke average each year."
Fast forward to this past season and Dollens had become a true team leader with results that featured a fifth-place finish at the Baker Spring Invitational with a score of 72-73=145, +1 on April 16 to end the regular season. Just prior to that the Centralia grad. also led his squad by coming in 14th at Spring Invite at 73-74=147, +3 on April 2.
"Daymond made the transition from high school to college as easy as anyone I've had," Utley said. "He qualified for the first tournament of his freshman year by holing a shot from off the green to qualify then in the tournament he played the final round in 70 (-2) to finish ninth. Plus in four years I think he made maybe only on B and graduated with a 3.944 GPA making a 4.0 in seven out of eight semesters. And again doing this while being involved on campus as not only an athlete but as a student leader."
As a junior in 2017 Dollens improvement was evident in his results, which, in autumn, revolved around placing first at 70-73=143, -1, at the Evangel Fall Invitational. He also tied for the runners-up spot at the Cougar Classic with a 70-73=143, +1, and finished fourth at the William Woods Invite at 73-67=140, -4.
"Daymond will succeed in whatever he chooses to do," said Utley. "I’m not sure what he plans to do next but his work ethic and skills as a communicator and networker will take him wherever he wants to go."