The Whitman-Hanson Regional High golf team is shooting to remain on course.
When asked of his team’s goal for the new season, Whitman-Hanson Regional High golf head coach Brian Dempsey replied with a two-part answer.
“This year, our day-to-day goal is to stay competitive,” Dempsey said. “Our team this year is very inexperienced, which can definitely make things a little unclear when it comes to matches. That being said, we have some players that have a lot of talent and many others that have the potential to make a big impact.
“Ultimately, our larger goal is to qualify for the state tournament. If we can stay focused, learn from our teammates’ and our own play, I’m confident we can accomplish both.”
As Dempsey had hinted, achieving competitiveness can often lead to making the tournament. That’s a feat W-H’s accomplished four of the last five seasons.
The Panthers will have their work cut out for them, however, after the graduation of nine players, headlined by three of their top four golfers – JP Drier, Nik Duffy and Anthony Palmacci.
Palmacci, one of W-H’s two Patriot League All-Stars last season, shot a 1-over-par to help the Panthers knock off Duxbury for their first win ever over the Dragons.
“Losing Palmacci in the lineup is definitely tough, but with three of the top four spots open this year due to graduating seniors, I’m really excited to see some of our younger guys step in and have the chance to shine,” the seventh-year head coach, whose team went 9-8 last season, said.
The Panthers do return their top golfer and senior four-year player Owen Manning. The two-time captain was a league all-star last fall and posted a 4.1-over-par average.
“Owen is a special player not just because of his ability, but his approach and demeanor before, during and after play sets him apart as well,” Dempsey said.
Fellow senior Ed Scriven will serve as a captain along with Manning. Scriven, who has been on the team since he was a sophomore, emerged as a vital part of W-H’s rotation last fall when he shot a 6-overpar at Furnace Brook Golf Course, a place he shot nearly a 60 the season prior.
“Aside from Ed’s impressive jump in the lineup because of his skill, Ed is really special in terms of his personal leadership,” Dempsey said. “He’s always looking to lend a helping hand, give advice, or share stories, there are few times you will see this kid without a smile on his face.”
Dempsey noted sophomore Aidan Miller and juniors Matt Korzec and Ian Brown will be key this season, while senior Pat Dever could surprise some people.
W-H will be back in action Thursday, Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m. with a home contest at Ridder Farm Golf Course against league rival Duxbury.
“In the opening weeks, we have some tough matchups for sure, but if we can stay competitive, and not get caught up in the upcoming weeks of the season, we should be alright,” Dempsey said. “I always tell my guys to play present and focus on the task at hand, one shot at a time. If we can stay true to that, I think we can not only reach our season goals, but maybe even surpass them.”