Boys’ golf continues winning streak with best score of the season

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Boys’ golf continues winning streak with best score of the season

Seniors Trevor O'Keefe (left) and Scott Hamlet (right) helped lead the varstiy boys' golf team to victory on Thursday. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Seniors Trevor O'Keefe (left) and Scott Hamlet (right) helped lead the varstiy boys' golf team to victory on Thursday. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Seniors Trevor O'Keefe (left) and Scott Hamlet (right) helped lead the varstiy boys' golf team to victory on Thursday. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Seniors Trevor O'Keefe (left) and Scott Hamlet (right) helped lead the varstiy boys' golf team to victory on Thursday. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Rugile Pekinas

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As clouds gathered and a light shower began to fall on the Olivas Links Golf Course on Thursday, the Foothill boys’ golf team swung in their fifth consecutive league win of the season. With 434 strokes, the Dragons dominated Fillmore High School (510 strokes), Santa Clara High School (546 strokes), Santa Paula High School (548 strokes) and Carpinteria High School (553 strokes).

(From left to right) Senior Sam Beppler, freshman Sean Ward, senior Ryan Stem, senior Scott Hamlet, senior Trevor O'Keefe and senior Jameson Mah. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

(From left to right) Senior Sam Beppler, freshman Sean Ward, senior Ryan Stem, senior Scott Hamlet, senior Trevor O’Keefe and senior Jameson Mah. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

As clouds gathered and a light shower began to fall on the Olivas Links Golf Course on Thursday, the Foothill boys’ golf team swung in their fifth consecutive league win of the season. With 434 strokes, the Dragons dominated Fillmore High School (510 strokes), Santa Clara High School (546 strokes), Santa Paula High School (548 strokes) and Carpinteria High School (553 strokes).

Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

The team shot a 434, the best score of the season. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

As the team is currently undefeated, Coach Mark Wipf said that the win will very likely lead the team to league finals.

Senior Scott Hamlet, who tied for first place individually with 81 strokes, felt that the familiarity of the course offered the team the upper hand.

“This is our home turf so we got to take advantage of playing this course every day when most of the guys [on the other teams] have never played it,” Hamlet said.

Coach Mark Wipf commended the players in keeping their poise on the course even with difficult conditions of wind and slight rain.

“Our scoring was the best they’ve had all season with the 434 in a league tournament, [which] is very solid on a very good golf course and in conditions that weren’t really easy; the wind was blowing on and off, it was very cool out there,” Wipf said. “Tough to get your complete feel out there, but they definitely handled it all well. A lot of poise out there.”

Senior Ryan Stem came in second at the tournament with an 84, senior Jameson Mah came in third with an 85, senior Trevor O’Keefe came in fifth with a 91 and freshman Sean Ward placed seventh with a 93.

Team co-captain Jameson Mah was pleased to see the team focused more on making good shots than winning the tournament.

“I’d say everybody was very focused. They took one shot at a time, didn’t get too upset at the bad shots, and just played the round without thinking of the score too much, which allowed them to do well, so I think that’s pretty good for today,” Mah said. “We surpassed our record which is always good; we’re just steadily improving.”

 

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The only freshman to play for the team, Sean Ward, was proud to see his team competing well and feels that being the youngest on the team has helped improve his skills immensely.

“As a freshman, I think that the seniors are really nice, just accepting me and letting me play,” Ward said. “I’ve really improved from where I started. I’ve only been playing for about a year, so I’m relatively new to the sport and I think that just being around people who are better than me has really improved my golf skills.”

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The team played at the Olivas Links Golf Course, giving them the “home turf” advantage. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Mah feels that the leadership from the older players was imperative to the newer players’ improvements over the course of the season.

“Also Trevor O’Keefe and Ryan Stem, the other two captains, they have really trained a lot of the new players and made sure our lowest players who score still count [and that] they’re able to still perform pretty well,” Mah said.

“A lot of people started from ground zero and so we had to make sure they got to a certain level where they were able to play consistently,” he said.

“They weren’t blowing up on the course, and I think a lot of that rests on the captains and Scott Hamlet as well. A lot of leadership on the team made this possible.”

Hamlet believes that golf differs from other sports in that practices are more enjoyable and he’s able to play with “some of [his] best friends.”

“I think it’s different because most of my friends, when they go to practice, they groan about it and they say ‘Oh, I have to go to practice,’ like it’s exhausting, and when I come to golf practice, me and all my best friends stand on a driving range and just swing together, laugh together, make jokes,” Hamlet said.

“We’re not panting, out of breath, and dying, we’re […] all just hanging out, giving each other tips, laughing about jokes, telling each other about our days. It’s like hanging out, but while you’re hanging out, you’re getting better at your game.”  

Ward also experiences this camaraderie with his teammates, something that many people don’t expect in an individual sport like golf.

 

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“There’s definitely a sense of teamwork, even though golf is an individual sport. If I went out on my own and shot the scores that I did, it wouldn’t really feel the same because you don’t have your team cheering you on when you get a good score and I think that’s really that vibe that you get from having a team with you. It’s a really good feeling,” Ward said. 

The team’s ultimate goal is the CIF Championship, but Coach Wipf understands that each victory can only come with one stroke at a time.

“We’ve got one more tournament [but] we’re not gonna look at it that way,” Wipf said. “We’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing, keep our head down, play one shot at a time; that gives us everything that we want. We’re not gonna count our chickens before they’ve hatched.”

Background Photo Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

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