April 29, 2021
CORONA: On the beautiful Glen Ivy Golf Course, the boys from King golfed their hearts out, their coaches coached their minds out and the result was King defeated the host Santiago by 4 strokes and in so doing, secured a Co-Championship of the Big 8 in this crazy Covid year of changes and challenges. The final score was 222-226 and the championship is the 153rd in school history and the 9th title for boys golf.
“Some victories are sweeter than others” exulted King head coach Lucinda Brewer who took the success former head coach (and now assistant) Kevin LeDuc had established and kept it going in the most difficult of circumstances.
“I just preach that ‘every shot matters'” Brewer said, as the Wolves proved the truth of that again in another incredibly close finishing score.
It wasn’t by accident. Knowing the Sharks were undefeated, King, who was sitting at 8-1 going into the match decided to prepare for the Glen Ivy course by modifying their home course, General Old, to get ready. It was critical, as not one of the players had ever teed up on the Glen Ivy course. They were flying blind.
Brewer described the tactic. “General Old plays 3400 yards on the front 9 from the blue tees (normal tees we play in most matches); Glen Ivy is 3146 from the blue tees on the front 9. We had to figure out a way to practice a shorter course at General. Why? We continue to coach the team to use the club the shot calls for; Glen Ivy calls for less than driver off many of the tees – which puts players at a different distance on their approach shots. We want them to see they have the “tools” to play every course and to use all of their tools in the tool box.”
Brewer credits her assistant coach, AnnDena Sjoerdsma with the idea. “We played 9 holes from the white tees. They could not use their driver and had to select a different club off the tee. They had to tee off with an iron on #2, #7, #8.”
The boys discovered what the coaches were showing them.
“I found out I can hit my 5 wood off the deck (golf speak for fairway/no tee)” said one. “I found out I don’t have to use my 60 degree for every chip shot” said another.
Music to coaches’ ears.
King went over to Glen Ivy and proceeded to have two players shoot par 36.
But that didn’t seal the deal.
Santiago’s first group beat King’s by 7 shots. But King’s second group beat Santiago’s by 12, putting King up by 5 strokes. Then something happened Brewer said she’s never seen before:
“The match was winding down and one of strategies that Coach Leduc had was to stand on #9 tee box and help the players with club selection. It is a par 3, playing 185 yards, elevated tee box with a water hazard on the right and bunkers on every side of the green. It was a blue flag on the back third of the green and we had a helping wind. First group finishes, second group finishes (Santiago’s player had a hole in one-it was awesome to witness); as excited as everyone was, that brought the match scores even tighter.”
But the snag was that only one of Santiago’s players from the 3rd group arrived at the tee. Ten minutes elapsed before the rest of his group arrived.
When asked where everyone was , the player said he was told to go ahead and play hole #8 by himself because there was a pace of play issue.
But such “solo play” is grounds for a disqualification as in golf, if there is not a playing opponent to attest your score, the score does not count.
The young man was DQ’d. “A learning lesson for all involved” Brewer said.
Brewer was beaming with pride over what her young team accomplished not just on the afternoon but in all aspect of this challenging year of school and play. “I was so proud of my team.” Brewer said. “To say the least there was some “gamesmanship” going on because all knew what was on the line. We are looking forward to what lies ahead with league prelims and finals and CIF…they are still hungry to keep playing.”
As are, no doubt Brewer, Sjoerdsma and LeDuc. It takes a village to win a title.