The men’s golf team has been walking a fine line this season as they attempt to stay competitive while developing the inexperienced talent.
On the surface, the Owls appear to have done poorly, finishing no better than eighth in their first four tournaments. But coach Brian Rogers has entered his team in tougher tournaments this season, which he said has helped and hurt the squad.
“[This year], we’ve done worse in terms of our record, but better in terms of scoring,” Rogers said.
He cited the recent McLaughlin Tournament, in which the team finished eight strokes better than last year, but ended up in tenth place, compared to fourth place a year ago.
Rogers’ decision to toughen the schedule has not bothered juniors John Boose or Logan Terry, the Owls’ most experienced players. Boose said they look at tough competition as a way to stay on top of their game.
“You practice and work harder when playing against a good golfer,” Boose said. “It motivates you to beat them, so tougher competition is definitely a good thing.”
The team has three freshmen: Pat Rugg, Adam Pifer, and A.J. Tomasello. Rugg and Pifer have seen the most action, and the coach said they have performed better than he expected.
“[Going into the season], I expected the freshmen to struggle. However, they ended up exceeding my expectations,” Rogers said. “Adam was our best golfer in the first event.”
The Owls have had trouble controlling their emotions this season, according to Rogers. He said they have not always recovered from mistakes and have not handled tension and pressure well.
“A guy will make a mistake, let it affect him for the rest of his round, and it snowballs into six or seven mistakes,” he said.
Terry admitted his emotions have cost him rounds.
“I usually make a couple mistakes that compound each other,” he said. “Sixteen holes will go well, but two bad ones can cost me a round.”
As for the team’s performance in the upcoming Big 5 Championship on Oct. 15-16, Rogers said he is thinking positively.
“Judging by how we’ve played lately, I feel pretty good about [the tournament],” he said. “As long as the weather holds out, we have a good chance.”
Boose said he is confident the squad will perform well in the tournament, saying the team is familiar with the Philadelphia Cricket Club course, located in Flourtown, Pa.
After that, the Owls finish their season at the Liberty Invitational in Amherst, Va. Going into the final two tournaments, Boose said he wants the entire team to be more consistent and play up to its ability.
“Often times, there are a few of us with a low score, and a few with a high score,” he said. “I’d like to see a weekend when we all perform to our ability, and I believe [that time] is not too far away.”
Dan Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.