Sophomore Paul Carbone felt like he struggled on the first day of the Navy Invitational on Sept. 8. The following day, Carbone’s 20th birthday, he fired a (-1) round of 70 en route to an eighth-place finish in Annapolis, Md.
“The first round I was confident, but I didn’t hit the ball my best,” Carbone said. “No matter what you do you have to stick it out for your teammates, even though I ended up shooting 74.”
Since the team’s opening meet, Carbone shot rounds of 77 and 75 at The McLaughlin on Sept. 15 to 16 to tie for 69th.
Carbone said the difference between this year and his freshman year so far is his determination to continue working hard, and not settling.
“Last year I started off well and got a little full of myself,” Carbone said. “It showed in the spring and really took a toll on me. I need to work harder to improve my score every time I play, whether it’s by one shot or five.”
Coach Brian Quinn said Carbone is a player who has the potential to shoot under par every time he steps on the golf course, but needs to work on his consistency.
“[Carbone] has the ability to be really good,” Quinn said. “He is starting to realize how much work and dedication it takes to play golf at this level. He will become much more consistent.”
“He has to have a more consistent effort, and with that the better he will play,” Quinn added. “I’m proud of him to realize where he’s at. If you are your own judge and juror you can go far not only in golf but in life.”
At Navy, the Owls finished third overall, behind North Dakota State and St. Bonaventure. Temple finished 10th at The McLaughlin. Carbone said he realizes his team’s potential and doesn’t have expectations heading into the week because it forces him into shooting higher scores.
“I have no expectations, I just want to work hard to be the best I can be and my teammates do the same, it just takes heart and soul,” Carbone said. “We have the potential to win tournaments every week if we work hard and use our heads on the course.”
Senior Devin Bibeau also sees all of the work that, not only Carbone, but the entire team has put in to achieve their goals for the season.
“As a team, we want to see just how good we can be. For us it has come to a point where nothing is a stretch, we know we can contend each week we play,” Bibeau said. “We’ve all stepped up this year with our work habits, especially [Carbone]. He’s been working really hard every day at practice.”
Heading into the rest of their fall schedule, the Owls have higher hopes about their ability than they have in the past two years. The young roster consists of Bibeau, Carbone, junior Matt Crescenzo, sophomore Mike Amole and freshman Brandon Matthews. Quinn said the third-place finish is just scratching the surface of what the team can do and the levels of golf that they are able to reach.
“I think the kids learned a lot at Navy, we burned a lot of shots just on decision making alone,” Quinn said. “When we focus and hit shots we know we can hit, we’ll see a jump in scoring, I feel we can get better each week.”
Carbone said he thinks with the young roster the Owls have, that reaching the Top 50 in the country is not out of reach in the next year or two.
“[Quinn] said we need to shoot low and everybody’s qualifying for their spots,” Carbone said. “It’s going to come down to once we click we can really do some damage.”
Anthony Bellino can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Bellino_Anthony.