Golf Defeats The Heights for Season's First Win

Published by The Enterprise on March 30, 2018

Courtesy of Michael Reid

After a season-opening hiccup, the St. Mary's Ryken golf team got back on track with a 6.5-2.5 match-play win over visiting The Heights School of Montgomery County on Monday at Breton Bay Golf & Country Club in Leonardtown.

The Knights (1-1 overall) fell 9-0 to Paul VI of Virginia in both teams' season openers March 19 but answered back Monday on wins by Casey Burke, Kyle Kerig and Mark Guadagnoli.

"We did really well, especially after how we did against PVI," said Burke, who posted a 6 and 4 win over the Cavaliers' Joe Pakaluk. "I really turned on my game; my drives were going well. I had accurate approach shots and my putts were going in. I didn't have anything over a 2-putt. Everything just really pulled together for me this round."

Playing in sunny but cold and windy conditions, the bottom of the Knights' lineup also added wins as No. 5 Kyle Kerig prevailed 4 and 3, while No. 6 Mark Guadagnoli earned a 5 and 4 decision.

"I was very much happy," St. Mary's Ryken head coach Jason Early said. "This is our home course and we know this course as good as any and they really persevered through some brutal conditions with the cold and whatnot, but I'm proud of them. They stuck it out."

Joseph Tennyson and Jackson Bennett each finished their rounds even.

"I thought I scrambled well and got up and down a lot," Bennett said. "I made par a couple times from the woods, so I played decent from that aspect and putted well, but there's definitely some stuff I can work on."

The Cavaliers (0-1) picked up a 5 and 2 victory from No. 2 golfer, Nick Pakaluk over St. Mary's Ryken's Tyrik Pierre.

St. Mary's Ryken, which returns to action April 11 when its hosts Good Counsel of Montgomery County at Breton Bay, is looking at the 12th-graders to help the team find success.

"We have great senior leadership in Casey and Jackson and Joe [Tennyson], but we also have some younger talent, so we need to harness some culture," Early said, referring to his four underclassmen. "This year is really going to be about the veterans teaching the one young ones how to play match play and what to do, what to say and the ins and outs and intricacies of match play."

Last year, St. Mary's Ryken lost its first three matches and finished 2-8 (2-8 WCAC).

"Our goal is to play solid golf, to play spot golf, to be able to hit certain shots in certain positions, but honestly the biggest goal is to get smarter in the game," Early said. "I see kids pulling out wedges to get out from underneath trees and [that's not the club] to play. [Our goal is] just to be golf smart."

"We have a lot of great personalities on this team and we have a lot of fun, but I'm just hoping to at least go .500 and then maybe go to WCACs," Burke said. "I definitely think we have a lot of potential."

Bennett added: "I'm hoping to have winning record in individual matches and play at WCACs."