WCHS golf lines up 2013 season

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By Brandon Mattingly

The 2013 Washington County High School boys’ and girls’ golf teams have the upcoming season in their sights and they’re going for the green in what should be an exciting year for both programs.

Head Coach Bobby Bartholomai has a roster of 13 boys and five girls—both up from last year—ready to take on the 5th Region.

Bartholomai, entering his fourth year with the Commanders and his second with the Commander-ettes, wants to see his teams build off what they learned last year.

The Commanders return seniors Thomas Pettus, Seth Robinson, J.P. Cecconi and Patrick Downs, as well as juniors Wade Moore and Luke Mattingly. Sophomores Evan Mattingly, Daniel Downs and Michael Wheatley also return for their second year. Junior Zac Graves and freshmen Jim Cecconi, Spencer Langford and Matthew Burkhead will be the newcomers this year, rounding out the boys’ side.

The Cox sisters, Amanda (senior), Emily (freshman) and Olivia (sixth grade), will once again be usuals on the links for the Commanderettes, but they’ll have some help this year. Sophomores Jenny Begley and Elizabeth Rice are going to try their hand at a new sport this year, and have the WC girls hoping to compete in team competitions this season. Last year’s trio posted some impressive individual scores, and they’d love a shot at some team accolades as well.

Pettus will once again hold down the No. 1 spot for the boys, while Amanda Cox will be in the top spot for the girls’ competitions. Bartholomai said the seniors have led by example, both on and off the course.

“They’ve spent a lot of time at the course this summer. Thomas, J.P. and those guys have been out here quite a bit,” Bartholomai said. “Seth had (the Governor’s Scholar Program), and he’d have been out here otherwise, but that’s a great opportunity to take part in GSP.”

The WCHS coach added that his teams made noticeable improvements last season, and that making the small adjustments will be a major factor in both squads taking another step forward.

“I saw them progress in different aspects of the game, and that’s what I hope for,” he said. “The whole thing about golf is that it’s really what you put into it between matches. It’s hard to improve if all you’re doing is playing golf. If you’re struggling with chipping, then you need to spend some time on that.”

The WCHS coach helped his team with that by setting up a range for shots 50 to 100 yards from the pin for the Commanders and Commanderettes to hone their short game.

With heavy scheduling in August and late-season tournaments starting up in September, Bartholomai said not a lot of time is left for improving their game midseason. He did say, however, that any golfer can always get smarter.

“It’s hard to improve a lot during the season. Because of that, time needs to be put in during the offseason,” he said. “Having confidence is the biggest part of it, and just thinking around the golf course. That’s what I hope to see improvement on; decision making.”

Thanks to the increased turnout for the boys’ team, Bartholomai also said that there are plans to implement a junior varsity team this season. He said the team would take on other local schools, and could possibly hold matches concurrent to the varsity teams.

“That’s always the challenge for the guys who aren’t on the varsity squad; how to get them experience,” he said. “This gives them the feel of playing against kids from the other schools.”

One of the biggest questions with WCHS golf each year is how they’ll fair in the All-A 5th Region Classic, which will be hosted at Lincoln Homestead Golf Course on Aug. 16 this time around.

“All-A is interesting each year. The regional is going to be here, and that should help us out somewhat, but you never know,” Bartholomai said. “Green County is usually a pretty good team and Bethlehem is always pretty good. I think it will be between the three of us for who will advance out of the region. It’s an unknown who has developed over the summer.”

One thing that Bartholomai is sure his team has is a positive attitude. Not allowing the game to get the best of them could be one of this year’s teams’ greatest attributes.

“They’re pretty happy-go-lucky. None of them get too down on themselves. They’re pretty good at not letting the game overwhelm them,” Bartholomai said. “If they put in the right amount of work and keep their heads about them on the golf course, they’ve got an opportunity to play some decent golf.”

The Commander and Commanderette varsity golf teams began play on Monday afternoon in Bardstown. Their first home match it set for this coming Monday at Lincoln Homestead.