The golf team finished the season with a 6-11 record.
Although the Whitman-Hanson Regional High golf team failed to meet head coach Brian Dempsey’s goal of qualifying for the tournament, it made strides elsewhere.
For starters, senior captain Owen Manning put forth a career. Along with being named team MVP again and Patriot League All-Star, he qualified for the Div. 2 state finals, where he carded a 7-over par 79 to advance to the Mass Golf Junior Amateur Championship.
“This was definitely Owen’s best season,” the eighth-year head coach said. “He was much more consistent this year, always placing in the top two or three scorers for each match. He’s worked really hard to get here and having missed the cut last year by only one stroke, I know he was hungry to get back and prove himself.”
It was Manning 2-over par 36 that pushed the Panthers, who finished the year 6-11, over Duxbury, 238- 245, and a 3-0 start.“Beating them was a huge morale boost,” Demspey said. “This gave everyone confidence that they can compete with other teams, even without the experience from year’s prior.”
The morale boost didn’t come from Manning’s showing, but rather came from junior Matt Korzec (2-over), senior Pat Dever (6-over) and junior Ian Brown (7-over) turning in key performances.
Brown continued to shoot well the following match, a 232-239 victory over Plymouth North, with a 3-over. From playing in one match the previous season, Brown took a significant step forward.
“From his change in his swing, to his willingness to step up to lead the team and younger players, Ian was a huge factor for us,” Dempsey said. “I’m really looking forward to see how his game improves even more for next year.”
Korzec shot a 4-over and sophomore Aidan Miller carded a 5-over in the win. Both battled it out all fall for the team’s No. 2 golfer.
“Statistically they didn’t have their best years, but their love for the sport and friendly competition will help them for next year,” Dempsey said.
After the Plymouth North triumph, the Panthers endured a rough patch. It began with a 250-252 loss to Silver Lake and spiraled into dropping 10 of their next 12.
“I think everyone started to realize that the pressure was building to maintain that type of play,” Dempsey said. “Couple that with the frequent bad weather, cancelations, and the fact that we then went on the road to some really difficult courses and teams, and reality kind of hit us hard. They finished strong and played really well against Hingham at South Shore Country Club despite the loss.”
Dempsey said he’s eager to see who steps up for the team next fall.
“I’m looking forward to next year [with] so many unknowns,” Dempsey said. “It will again be a blank canvas for us to figure out who we are and what we need to do. Anyone on the team can be the standout next year.”