Geneseo boys’ golf opens season with victories

Amy Carton
Matt Dragolovich tees off on hole No. 10 during opening round play Aug. 17 at Maple Bluff Golf Course.

With only a few days of practice under their belts, the Geneseo High School boys’ golf team jumped right into competition this week.

But before the guys hit the links, head coach Darren Hall is trying to get a sense of the make up of his team.

“It looks like we have some freshmen who played awfully well on the first day, shooting in the 40s, which is positive,” he said. “I was able to watch a lot of play to see a lot of guys and get a feel for what they can do and what skill level we are working with.”

With coach Hall not knowing a lot of the golfers, having been away from the team for two years he had to rely on others for information on his team.

“The best thing I heard was when I talked to Rachel at Maple Bluff who said a lot of the guys had been out on the course this summer and practiced a considerable amount,” said Hall. “Golf starts in the spring if you are going to be serious about it. Some guys put in the work this summer and that is what every coach wants.”

With not knowing much about his team, Hall said his expectations for this year’s group are to be determined.

“Our goal is I am always looking at a score of 160 and our opening round on Aug. 11 was 163 so that shows me we are in the ball park,” he said. “If everyone improves by one stroke we are 159 and I?will take that. It is not a bad start.”

Coach Hall said he hopes to develop some depth and there has already been a healthy competition for spots in the lineup.

Hall views some strengths of this year’s team will be how they conduct themselves out on the course.

“We didn’t have any issues Aug. 11 with players and they took care of the course,” said Hall. “It is important to be honest and have integrity for the game and that is important to me.”

A challenge facing Hall this year will be getting to know his team and their abilities.

“We have some work to do with learning the rules of the game of golf because we do have some inexperienced players,” he said. “We hopefully have a nice balance to get a couple of guys from class that are decent at golf. I look for them to improve and push each other.”

Last season, Mark Converse advanced to state where he shot a 168, while he and Taylor Mighell both moved out of regionals to sectional competition. The Leafs ended the year in fifth place in the NCIC.

Geneseo vs. Hall/Kewanee

The Geneseo boys’ golf team started off the season with two wins on their home course at Maple Bluff Aug. 17.

The Leafs defeated Kewanee 165-186 and Hall 165-195.

“I think score-wise they did okay,” said Hall. “Our goal is always to shoot for 160, but considering the conditions, which were awfully wet. I was pretty pleased with that.”

Matt Dragolovich was the medalist for the match, shooting a 39.

Alec Cheek came in second for Geneseo with a 41, followed by Rich Snell shooting a 42, Billy Converse a 43 and Jordan Etter a 52.

“I was pleased with Matt, who has done a really good job for me this fall. I was glad to see that his scores in practice translated into meet scores,” said Hall. “Alec has been shooting what he has been shooting and Billy has played better, but it was his first varsity match. Rich Snell I’m really pleased with and he has a nice swing.”

In junior varsity action, Geneseo beat Kewanee, 195-236.

The Leafs first-place finisher was Dugan Kuffel, carding a 47, followed by Kevin Wolak and Logan Farber each with 49s. Collin Medley shot a 50 for the day, while Doug Menozi finished with a 51 and Tyler Ford a 65.

“Overall, I was very pleased,” said Hall. “So far we are doing well and working hard. Now we have a little time to work on things.”

The Leafs (2-0 overall) will next host Dixon at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at Maple Bluff Golf Course.