Pirate golfers kick off 2021 season against Fulton Hornets on Monday, March 22
When the Boonville Pirates golf team hits the links for the first time on Monday, March at Fulton, head coach Rob VanderLinden will be going into battle with all new players.
Not just one new player but all 11 golfers.
“We have absolutely zero experience when we tee up for the first time on Monday,” VanderLinden said. “All 11 of these kids have never played a golf match. Last year before we had the season canceled due to the pandemic, I had four seniors and four freshmen. Of course the seniors didn’t get to have a season and the four freshmen were going to gain experience.”
To make matters worse, VanderLinden said because of the lost year from golf he has no idea who has graduated or who is coming back in the Tri-County Conference. He said Southern Boone is going to be strong and Blair Oaks is always good.
“I know Eldon has a couple of good golfers, but other than that I really have lost track,” VanderLinden said. “I think the conference as a whole is going to be solid with those three schools. Our goal this year is to gain experience. I will tell you that all 11 kids that are out have spent extra time wanting to learn. I basically tell them that I’m out there for 2 1/2 hours every day, and a lot of these kids will stay and play to get better, so the strengths of the team is their willingness to get better.”
With two challenge matches completed, VanderLinden said he would like to get in another before the season opener on Monday. But right now, VanderLinden said freshman Austin Rice is the No. 1 golfer for Boonville.
“Austin has been the one that has been consistently the best through our practices,” VanderLinden said.
As for the rest of the lineup, sophomore Ben Newman will play the No. 2 position, followed by Jackson Johns at the No. 3 slot, Tucker Lorenz at the No. 4 position and Aidan Brown at the No. 5 spot.
“Newman was part of the team last year but didn’t get a chance to participate because of the whole virus thing,” VanderLinden said. “Ben has played well for a beginner. Jackson is new to the game but has taken some lessons from a pro, so he’s got the basics down. Tucker is also brand new but he got a few lessons in last summer and also has the basics down. As for Aidan, he was also on the team last year and picked up some of the basics before the season got canceled. He just didn’t get any experience in playing.”
VanderLinden said this is the top five right now in the qualifiers completed. However, other players who could compete for that top spot are: Sophomore Michael DeLeon; sophomore Brandon Mackey; freshman Owen Reynolds; freshman Ryder Comegys; freshman Caleb Martin; and freshman Eli Walker.
3-22-at Fulton, 4
3-25-at Osage, 4
3-30-at Moberly, 4
4-5-SO. BOONE, 4
4-8-BOONVILLE MASTERS TOURN., 9
4-9-JV BOONVILLE MASTERS TOURN.,
Note: Home matches in caps.
Ben Newman, So.
Jackson Johns, So.
Tucker Lorenz, So.
Michael DeLeon, So.
Brandon Mackey, So.
Aidan Brown, So.
Austin Rice, Fr.
Owen Reynolds, Fr.
Ryder Comegys, Fr.
Caleb Martin, Fr.
Eli Walker, Fr.