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The Westminster Bi-Line

Seasoned boys golf team prepares for spring tournaments

The Wildcat golf team ended last season with a bitter defeat at the hands of North Oconee high school. The Cats went into the state championship in Waynesboro as the favorites to take the title, only to be forced to settle for second place. This year, with five out of six players returning to the squad, the golf team is fired up and more focused than ever on utilizing their returning talent to bring home another title. For senior captains Tripp H’Doubler, Jackson Heazel and Dylan Grien, as well as fellow senior Jason Fromal, this year represents the last chance to add another championship ring to their collection and to solidify the legacy of the class of 2013 as one of the most talented classes of golfers to come through the program.

This season, the focus will be on attitude and preparation, as these two important aspects were absent in last year’s team, especially during the state championship. Coach James Perry set the tone for the year by meeting with every returning player during the fall to discuss the structure of the season, continuously alluding to those two aspects as the key to returning to the glory of a state title, previously achieved by the 2010 and 2011 teams.

“We have one of the deepest teams in Westminster history,” said Perry. “I think if we focus on our attitude and preparation, the way we play should fall into place when it matters most.”

Perry’s optimism about the level of talent on this year’s squad is more than justified, as five of six players are returning from not only last year’s second place team but also the 2011 championship team. The entire squad is littered with players who compete on the national level and are therefore no stranger to high quality competition. Remarkably, both Heazel and H’Doubler will be pursuing golf at the Division I collegiate level, as they will attend Baylor University and The University of Missouri respectively on golf scholarships.  In addition to being rich with talent, the golf team consists of many players who have played golf together for their entire lives.

Complementing the senior leadership on the 2013 Westminster Golf Team are the underclassmen, who have shown tremendous drive to learn and contribute to the Wildcat golf program, and are set to take over the reins once the seniors leave following this season. Returning sophomores Hunter Bremer, William Black, Hamilton Miller, Matthew Levenson, and Keller Austin all put tremendous effort and time into their games and represent the future of a program that has been forged into a powerhouse. Unlike years past, the varsity and JV teams will be less polarized and often compete in the same tournaments, as two separate teams, meaning underclassmen are being better prepared for their futures as high school golfers.

“I am really excited for the opportunity to play some great events alongside my teammates,” said Black. “I can’t wait to see just how much we all can improve throughout the season.”

The golf team has the unique opportunity to bond with each other every summer by playing either in Oregon or Scotland with their teammates and coaches.

“My experience in Scotland was incredible,” said Bridges. “I am so glad to have gotten the opportunity to travel with my team and learn the game from a whole new angle.”

The season will begin directly after spring break with a tournament at historic East Lake Golf Club, but the regular season does not reach its peak until the Vidalia High School Indian Invitational on April 6 and 7 at Rocky Creek Golf Club. This tournament poses an incredible opportunity for the Cats to prepare for the state tournament, as the Indian Invitational features one of the toughest fields in the southeast in the largest event of the year. Additionally, Rocky Creek Golf Club will host the GHSA AA State Championship roughly a month later, so the team has an amazing opportunity to gain experience in preparation for their final tournament of the season.

“Vidalia is always a great tournament, but this year it is more important than ever,” said Heazel. “If we are able to play well at Rocky Creek, we can gain some momentum and confidence going into the state tournament.”

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