As the Boonville Pirates golf team begins its quest for the 2013 season, all eyes will be focused on the five returning starters from last year’s team.
With 10 players suited out for the upcoming season, the future continues to look bright for a team that consisted of mainly freshmen and sophomores in 2012. Of course the Pirates also know that they have no way to go but up after closing out last year at 0-9 overall and 0-5 in the NCMC.
Boonville golf coach Seth Pirtle said the 2013 season should be better than last year. “I am hoping to win at least a couple of team conference matches,” stated Pirtle. “Last year we were young and it was also my first year so this season I know the players a little better. We also have several golfers who have joined the golf club so they were playing during the off-season.”
While the Pirates have the defending conference champion back for his second season in sophomore Brett Windsor, Pirtle said Moberly and Mexico figure to have a strong team this year with most of their golfers back.
“Moberly has a really strong returning team and they were good last year,” Pirtle said. “As for Mexico, they had only two seniors last year so they have a lot of talent to choose from again this season. Hopefully we will be in the middle of the road. Last year we had 1-2 strong players but this year we have five strong players to make a team. The key is how well we come together and gel as a team since we are still mainly sophomores and juniors.”
The Pirates also picked up another year of experience, which can only help erase the thought of last year’s season. Pirtle said it seems like this year’s team loves the game of golf.
“Even the new golfers are enthusiastic,” Pirtle said. “However, we are still a young team so inexperience will be a factor. Tanner Green is the only golfer with more than two years of experience. Again we just want to have a better showing in conference and district this spring. I would also like to see 2-3 golfers make it to state this year.”
Although there are no guarantees from one year to the next, sophomore golfer Brett Windsor should almost be a lock to make it back to the state tournament. While qualifying as a freshman by one stroke, Windsor will also try to improve on his stroke average of 79 for 18 holes.
“We are looking for Brett to medal at state,” Pirtle said. “He is probably the most dedicated golfer on the team and probably the best all-around golfer.”
Senior Tanner Green also returns for his third season as a starter and second as team captain. While returning as the No. 2 golfer behind Windsor, Pirtle said Green drives the ball longest. “My goal is for Tanner to make it to state,” Pirtle said.
The No. 3-4 position is currently up for grabs between junior Morgan Johnston and sophomore Eric VanderLinden. While VanderLinden held down the No. 3 spot last year, a shoulder injury as slowed the sophomores progress. As for Johnston, Pirtle said Morgan has been practicing non-stop and is currently taking lessons. “Morgan has improved her game two-fold since last year,” Pirtle said. “I would also like to see Morgan and Eric qualify for state.”
Rounding out the starting lineup for the Pirates at the No. 5 position is sophomore Clayton Lang.  While playing the fourth position last year, Pirtle said Lang is another golfer who has improved his game and seems to be more focused this season.
Other golfers who could figure in the mix by season’s end are seniors Josh Vollmer and Brennan Hammers. Pirtle said Vollmer returns to the team after playing as a freshman while Hammers spends his free time playing as much as he can to get better.
Since the start of spring practice back on February 25th, Pirtle said the team has used its time to work on driving the ball in the batting cages and putting on greens. “Everybody in the conference is in the same boat but these kids couldn’t wait to be out on the course,” Pirtle said. “Thursday was the first day that we actually walked the course, so with a little work on the weekend I expect the more seasoned golfers to catch up.”