The boys’ golf team faced “a very stern test of golf” against Buena and Ventura high schools at the Olivas Links Golf Course on Tuesday in their first match of the season. The Dragons took third place overall, shooting a 538, while the Buena Bulldogs shot a 417 for second place. An overall score of 402 gave the victory to the Ventura Cougars.
Even though they didn’t win the match, Coach Mark Wipf was happy with the team’s performance. Sophomore Sean Ward shot a 104, the best score for the Dragons, and Wipf was proud of the fact that none of the players shot above a double par, even against two much more experienced teams.
“[Buena and Ventura] are very experienced. They’ve got a couple of players this year that’ll graduate and go play college golf, they’ll go play [Division] I. So they’ve got some very talented players,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet. But in time, with experience going, we’re going to hopefully build this team up.”
The players themselves had differing opinions on how the match went overall. For Ward, it was a trying experience.
“I had a terrible game. I sprained my thumb on the [last nine holes] and I could barely hold my club, so I was just hacking away throughout the last five holes,” Ward said. “I was just miserable. It was a terrible game. Not good.”
Sophomore Andrew Shoup, who shot a 105, had a similar view as Ward, especially since he saw the quality of his play take a dive around the third hole, which he credits to a “bad drive.”
“We started out doing pretty [well]. [The] third hole was bad, and then the rest were bad. And then when I started on the back nine, it was pretty bad. And then I finished bad,” Shoup said.
Sophomore Ryan “RG-1” Gilchrist also saw areas of improvement for the team.
“[The] first match went pretty well, but it could have been better. We need to improve on some of our putting, chipping, and irons, and driving,” he said.
By contrast, sophomore Spencer Selleck felt the match was a positive learning experience.
“I thought the match went great. This is my first time playing, so there were some struggles and some things that I definitely needed to improve on, but overall I thought I did relatively well,” Selleck said. “I saw some people [who] did way better than me, but overall I think I saw what my flaws were and I can improve on them in many different ways.”
Part of the challenge for the team is their relative lack of experience. According to Wipf, there are no upperclassmen on the team, and they have only two returning players out of the 13 from the 2015 season, which he says was a “big hit from last year to this year.”
“Right now, there’s a lot of nerves, and that’s natural. I don’t mind nerves, it means that they care, but it’s dealing with those nerves in a positive way,” Wipf said. “For as inexperienced as they are, they showed great poise out there.”
The Olivas Links course, with what Wipf calls its “claustrophobic” final nine holes, also presented a challenge for the players, some of whom only played a full 18 holes for the first time ever on Tuesday.
Gilchrist aims for the team to eventually make it to CIF, but in the meantime, Selleck simply hopes for the team to make continuous improvements to their play.
“The major key [to success] will be, I think, working on all of your flaws. There’s a lot of things that a lot of people do, you know, like they hook the ball and it goes way to the right, or they don’t get the ball where they want it to go, and that happens,” he said. “But I think with some time and effort, they can really improve, and that’s what it’s all about. I think it’ll just be fun.”
Featured Photo Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press