The Hopkinton High School golf team missed out on the postseason this fall by a single match, and coach Bill Phaneuf said the key for the Hillers to avoid the same fate next season is to cut out the big numbers.
“This team was much different this year than the last few years; we kind of looked at it as a rebuilding year,” Phaneuf said. “We had some really good players, but some of these kids could shoot a 38 or a 51 and, on the wrong days, the 51 showed up.”
Hopkinton lost some close matches this year and also dealt with a difficult schedule that included two matches each against Dover-Sherborn and Westwood, as well as non-league tilts against Ayer-Shirley and Westborough.
“Unfortunately, we came just one shy of the number to qualify,” Phaneuf said after the 7-8 campaign.
Junior Parker Winn, a contributor at the varsity level since his freshman year, finished the season as the top golfer and earned a spot in the sectional tournament as an individual. Winn averaged just 1.5 strokes over par per nine-hold round this fall, and Phaneuf estimated that he took home medalist honors as the low scorer in about a dozen of the team’s matches.
“He was super consistent all year,” the coach said. “He played tremendous golf; it was an amazing season.”
Seniors Jake Adams and Robby Silva were two more consistent contributors for the Hillers. Adams played in every match, and his score counted toward the team total in most of them. Silva showed the ability to go low, with several rounds under 40.
Hopkinton also received a boost from sophomore Levi Schuster, particularly toward the end of the season.
“He started slow, but he really picked it up,” Phaneuf said, citing the pair of 39s and a 40 Schuster shot to close out the season. “He was always in it.”
While the Hillers generally posted some low scores, Phaneuf said the challenge was competing in a strong league when scores in the mid-40s were counting toward the team total and driving that number up.
While trying to put the best team out on the course for each match, Phaneuf said he also worked to make sure some of the younger players on the team were able to earn repetitions in competitive golf, knowing that they would be back next season. He said everyone who played in a varsity match this year likely will figure into the mix for Hopkinton next season.
The key, Phaneuf said, will be coming into the season in top form and taking advantage of the summer months.
“The summer comes and goes pretty quickly and everyone has family vacations and fun time at the beach, but we are lucky to play fall golf and have the whole summer to get ready,” he said, noting that the spring girls season kicks off with a match on April 2, when there could still be snow on the ground.
“I am going to push them this year to be ready on August 25,” Phaneuf said. “We get going and it’s seven weeks, it’s fast and furious, and then we are done. There is no time to start getting ready on August 25; we have to be ready to go right out of the gate.”