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Although most of the Richmond golf squad consists of underclassmen, the Spartans have their goals set high as the 2009 season gets underway. There are no seniors on the roster of 12, with Blaine Broderick being the lone junior, followed by nine sophomores and a pair of freshmen.
Broderick tied for the district title and then finished seventh in last spring’s Class 2 state tournament in his first season at RHS. The Spartans had mostly freshmen on the course last season, and coach Murray Dennis is hoping they learned a lot during their first year of competitive golf.
In addition to Broderick, the top five golfers heading into Monday’s Blue Springs Tournament were sophomores Ty Tweedie, Kane Southwick, Zach Mathis and Adam Hellman. The remainder of the squad includes sophomores Dylan Wyse, Andrew Sherman, James Stanton, Morgan Richey and Brandon Rittmiller, along with freshmen Zach Smith and Lucas Farabee.
“Our numbers 2 through 7 are all pretty close right now,” Dennis said. “There has been some great competition in practice and I anticipate it to continue.”
Dennis added he has really liked the work ethic his team has displayed.
“I’ve been very pleased at how responsive the boys have been to what I have had them working on,” he said. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but I believe they will put the time and effort into it. What I really like about this team is they ask questions. They want to learn and improve their games and they will ask for help.”
Dennis adds that each team member was asked to write down their goals for the season and everyone was in agreement that they wanted to win the MRVC East and district championships, in addition to qualifying for the state tournament.
“Pretty good goals to have and they are working very hard in practice toward those goals,” Dennis said. “Whether they happen or not, is entirely up to how hard they continue to work, how serious they practice, and how much time they put into golf outside of our scheduled practices.”
The first-year Spartan coach said his young team needs to work on forgetting about bad shots and focus on the next shot. Dennis said the Spartans have been improving their course management throughout the early practice rounds and are doing a good job of taking it one shot at a time.
In addition to MRVC East schools, the Spartans’ schedule also includes Lawson, Maryville, Trenton, and others. Richmond will also be able to rely on home-course advantage when it comes to the conference and district tournaments, as each will be hosted at the Shirkey Golf Course.
Dennis adds that although his young team is improving, they still need to improve all phases of their games.
“Especially our scoring shots, those are the toughest here early because they deal with a lot of touch and not the full swing but, they are the most important shots in the game,” he said. “If we continue to work on that phase of the game, the boys will start seeing their score go down and our team scores will also improve, which will give us a better chance to reach the goals they set.”