- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
UPPER MARLBORO - The Northern golf team has been collecting trophies and banners this season.
Wednesday at the Jim Lawson Memorial Tournament at Lake Presidential Golf Club, the Patriots added yet another to their 2012 trophy case.
The Patriots claimed the tournament, which is comprised of all four county public high school teams, with a team score of 335. Huntingtown was 10 strokes back and Calvert edged Patuxent which had two players in their first action of the year by seven strokes, 357-364, for third place.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Northern head coach Mickey Norfolk said. “We did win so I’m very happy, but we can play a lot better. I know it sounds like a broken record but we can play better. We’re not playing up to our capabilities.”
And what exactly would Norfolk like to improve on?
“Well, scores would be good,” he said with a laugh. “I knew Lake Presidential would be tougher, but I think their mental game could definitely improve and I think they can make better decisions.”
The tournament was moved from Twin Shields Golf Club in Dunkirk, Northern’s home course, to Lake Presidential, which Huntingtown calls home during the regular season.
Northern also claimed the SMAC regular season championship after finishing the schedule with a perfect 11-0 record and added a District IV tournament title after finishing with a team score of 306.
On Wednesday, the Patriots led county rival Huntingtown by two strokes after the front nine, but had one more par and two more birdies than the Hurricanes over the back nine. Northern placed four golfers Jacob Benish, Nick Dege, Tony Reichert and Ryan Emmert in the top nine.
The Patriots are unbeaten so far this year and so is Benish, who added to his impressive resume after winning the individual title with a 5-over-par 77 on the 6,315-yard course.
Benish recorded 11 pars and a birdie on the Par-4, 365-yard 14th hole. He never went two holes with at least shooting par and was 3-over at the midway point.
“It was a little disappointing because I didn’t finish well,” said Benish, who shot bogey on his last two holes. “It was just a decent day and I didn’t have a great swing today, but I kept going and fought and made my way through it.”
“He’s special,” Norfolk said. “I think because his expectations are so high it’s hard for him. Everybody expects him to hit perfect shots and you’re not going to do that. Even the best golfers in the world don’t hit perfect shots, so I think he has to learn how to manage his game as in, ‘I didn’t shoot the shot I wanted to, but I can still score.’”
Benish said he didn’t think the late change of venue affected his game.
“No because we play this course all the time,” he said. “Most of our guys know this course better than Twin Shields. I thought we’d play better than we did, but still a pretty good outcome.”
Huntingtown’s Ryan Trotter was three strokes back of Benish with an 80. Trotter was at 41 at the midway point, but he caught fire on the back nine when he shot six of his 10 pars.
“I was just striking the ball well and hitting it well off the tee,” Trotter said. “Some things could have been better; my putting and short game, but other than that, I did pretty well today. [Playing here] is just like playing a practice round, it’s just like any other day.”
Keyan Riseling of Patuxent grabbed third place overall with an 82, which was shot in large part after a 40 on the last nine.
“Most of my drives were on, but it was my putting [that was my downfall],” said Riseling, who said he had eight three-putts. “It’s a great course, but the greens were a little fast today and I got my speed right, but anywhere from three to 10 feet I was missing them all over the place.”
Patuxent head coach Jeff Ganoe said the day was both good and bad.
“It was a bittersweet day for coach [Lou] Bruno and I as we have only one match left with our seniors,” Ganoe said, referring to Riseling, Calvin Davies and Robert Hubley. “These three young men have formed to core of the team since I took over two years ago. I have learned far more from them about his sport, commitment to a cause greater than self and how to pick yourself up when you're down. They have led this team by example, raised the bar for next season and will be greatly missed.”
Troy Smith of Huntingtown was a stroke back with an 83 and Dege finished the tournament with an 84. Reichert and Jackson Shannon of Calvert each finished with 85 and Cavaliers teammate Connor Healey ended his round with an 88.
Emmert (89) and Huntingtown’s Ryan Durnbaugh (90) placed ninth and 10th, respectively.
The SMAC tournament will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday at White Plains Golf Course in White Plains.
“I just need to work on putting right now,” Riseling said. “My swing’s OK, I just have to work on my putting. It was horrible today.”