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HHS girls golfers learn to love game

by | May 14, 2024 | Sports

The Hopkinton High School girls golf team is not the most experienced squad in the area this spring, but the Hillers are gaining a strong appreciation for the sport and winning their fair share of matches along the way.

“We have a very social team,” said coach Bill Phaneuf. “They are in it to have fun and make friends.”

While Hopkinton does have a few players with some competitive rounds under their belt, much of the team is brand new to the notoriously difficult sport.

“I give them a lot of credit, because we are essentially asking them to learn the game while competing in a varsity sport, and that’s really hard,” Phaneuf said. “But they have had a lot of fun.”

Phaneuf noted that the girls are very friendly and encouraging, not only to one another but also with their opponents. Several times, he has seen his players exchange numbers with the opposing team so they could get together to play golf on the weekends.

“It’s a very different dynamic,” he said, contrasting it with the boys team.

Phaneuf said his team likely will end up in the middle of the pack, but the Hillers had won more matches than they had lost through the end of April, and the coach said he has some golfers who “can get it around the course.”

Leah Hong is Hopkinton’s top player and a captain despite only being a sophomore.

“She is doing a great job,” Phaneuf said. “We made her a captain because she is a really good kid, a really good leader, and everybody loves her. She is also very mature for her age and very organized.”

Fellow captain Allie Sheehan, a senior, slots in as the No. 2 golfer. While Sheehan is relatively new to the game, Phaneuf said she is holding her own playing against some of the top golfers on opposing teams.

Reese Robledo is a young player who Phaneuf said has tremendous potential.

“I have high hopes for Reese,” he said. “She is a great kid, very athletic, she listens well, and she has been taking lessons. She is going to be a player.”

Phaneuf said that the Hillers are eyeing a spot in the postseason after getting there last spring, and the goal is well within reach.

“I try not to get them too super-focused on it, because I want them to play one hole at a time,” he said. “The experience of getting there, playing 18 holes, and the whole environment, it’s good for them. So I am hoping we make it.”

Hopkinton also is making an effort to get the team out to different courses or driving ranges on non-match days.

“It’s been challenging, but we are trying to get them some opportunities,” Phaneuf said. “We want to get some extra golf in.”

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