Boys golf wins first match of season
The conditions were ideal, even if some of the shots weren't.
The Blue Wave boys golf team got the first match of 2010 under its belt Tuesday afternoon with a 173-189 win over Fairfield Ludlowe at Darien Country Club. The boys overcame a few triple- and quadruple-bogeys while still having plenty of breathing room against the Falcons.
Darien junior tri-captain Andrew Winter was the medalist at the match, as he shot a 40.
"I was satisfied with the first match of the year, but we all struggled a little bit," Winter said. "It's the first competitive match that we've played in awhile. Playing competitively is a little different from going out on the course prior to this."
Winter, whose home course is the Darien Country Club, didn't say he had any jitters to start the day, but he did encounter a few tough shots he wasn't expecting and left a few shots on the green.
He hit into the water on the 7th hole, which was his biggest mistake, but one that didn't cost him too much.
"That kind of threw me off, but I was able to save and up-and-down and settle for a bogey," Winter, who had no double-bogeys, said.
And for the closes misses -- like the gimme-putt he pushed on the 8th hole -- there were a few terrific shots. On the hole No. 3, Winter drove his ball down the right side of the fairway and landed near a tree. It wasn't an easy shot, and he was forced to use his pitching wedge. That shot, from nearly 100 yards out, hit the pin, which allowed him to tap in for birdie, his only one of the day.
"That was a great save," Winter said. "And I was driving it well all day."
Winter has played on the course nearly every day possible since it opened up for its new season last month. He's extremely intimate with it and should lead the charge for Darien in its home matches.
As for the rest of the team and the overall performance, head coach Tom O'Donnell was satisfied -- but only to a point.
"Happy with the win, but I certainly know if we have aspiration to compete with best teams in the league we're going to have to play better than we did today," he said. "Having said that, it's the first match of the year. We have a lot of time and we certainly know we're capable of playing considerably better."
Sophomore James Burgoyne, playing in just his second varsity match, shot a 43. That was, perhaps, the most surprising transgression Tuesday. What's more impressive is that Burgoyne made a triple-bogey on the par-3 second hole; he could have threatened to be medalist had he not played badly there.
"Usually, for a younger player, that can be enough to throw them," O'Donnell said. "But Burgoyne parred the next hole and steadied himself. He has a real good disposition for the game. He doesn't get too excited, he's confident in his ability and didn't let a bad hole shake him."
Tri-captain Tim Westcott shot a 44, a "tough day," according to O'Donnell. Perhaps that's the best sign. Westcott, along with fellow captain Shawn Fahey, didn't play up to their expectations. Fahey Shot a 47 -- one stroke behind teammate James Tyrrell's 46 -- but that was primarily due to the opening-hole 8 he put up.
Fahey, the player with the most varsity experience on this year's team, is someone who has shot as low as a one-under-par round in FCIAC play.
"I'm not worried at all about Shawn, and he's certainly the guy, being a second-year captain, who will play well for us most of the year. He won't have many matches like this," O'Donnell said.
Fortunately, Darien had room to breath in light of a few high-scoring rounds. Though a few strokes were lost here and there on out-of-bounds shots, O'Donnell isn't so much worried about the team spraying the ball off the tee; he wants to hone in on the low irons and putting as soon as possible.
"The most important part of the game is the short game, what happens 100 yards and in, and we definitely have to get better at that," O'Donnell said. "Today I know that we had some trouble off the tee. We had at least three balls that were hit out of bounds. So, when you shoot 173, pretty much everything needs to get better. I really think this is a team that, by the end of the year, will be shooting considerably better than what we did today. On a very challenging course, first match of the year, the wind was blowing fairly strongly, the greens were pretty fast, we did OK. "
As for Ludlowe, it lost its first match of the season and dropped to 3-1. Its best golfer Tuesday was Andrew DeCarlo, who shot a 42, followed by Cole Church (44), Rex Kraft (51), Steve Fetko (52) and Shawn Cody (54).