That is not a concern for Winchester coach Tom Walsh. He has seven players he considers elite. There are 10 players on the roster with single-digit handicaps.
“They all play in tournaments year-round,” said Walsh. “High school golf is almost a step back for them.”
Carson Muse, a junior cocaptain who has earned the No. 1 spot, posted a scoring average of 72.0 on the PGA Junior Tour in 2022.
Muse tied for 13th at the Division 1 North qualifier with current teammate John Scully and 2022 Winchester graduate Phil Sughrue.
“For a lot of teams we play we are just trying to beat each other, opposed to our matches,” said Muse.
Junior Cole Cassidy felt the same, saying, “When we go out and play these matches it’s pretty competitive amongst ourselves . . . but we are all friends.”
Winchester is off to a 2-0 start, with Middlesex wins over Wilmington (34-11) and Watertown (50-22).
However, there are difficult matches ahead for the Red & Black, including nonleague meetings against Concord-Carlisle and St. John’s Prep.
“St John’s is going to be our toughest test. They have a loaded lineup,” said Walsh. “We saw that last year at the Division 1 final.”
Winchester also has a tough tri-meet on Tuesday against league opponents Belmont and Stoneham.
Walsh believes the key to beating the top teams is depth. The back end of his roster is so talented that there are often tough decisions to be made every week when constructing match rosters.
“It’s that fourth person who wins the tournament for you,” said Walsh. “An 83 from the fourth golfer could push us over the top, so you’re always worried about your No. 4 player.”
“It seems like we are much deeper this year . . . players at the bottom of our roster are stronger than they have been,” said junior cocaptain Max Lowenberg.
Competition for the final spots on a match roster is fierce. In high school play, the field is limited to eight players per side.
“I notice that almost every week,” said senior cocaptain Owen Stesney. “It’s such a rare occasion that you have a high school team where you shoot even par and you may not be playing any given week.”
“It’s really competitive to get in those 6-7-8 spots,” said Cole. “There are some kids who don’t even play that can fire mid-70s.”
“Once you get toward the back of the roster you can tell there’s a bit more competition,” said Stesney. “They are fighting to play. It can get tense sometimes.”
As a freshman, Stesney had to compete for a spot on match rosters every week.
“My freshman and sophomore years I didn’t really play at all and I was playing some of the best golf I had ever played,” Stesney said. “I’ve had to grow into a starter.”
And that is why Walsh expects another Middlesex League title.
“I’m not going to be happy if we don’t sweep the league this year,” he said.
In Wednesday’s 224-266 Patriot League win over Plymouth South, Duxbury senior captain Ryan Sherwood set a career scoring mark with his 5-under-par 31 at Duxbury Yacht Club.
“He was in the zone. It’s the lowest nine-hole score ever at the Duxbury Yacht Club,” said coach Jack Stoddard. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
▪ St. John Paul II stunned Nauset with a 254-264 win Wednesday, just the second time the program has defeated Nauset in the last eight years. Junior captain Jack Carstensen (38) was the medalist.
The Lions followed up with a 4.5-1.5 win against Sturgis West on Thursday at Bayberry Hills.
▪ On Wednesday, Rockport defeated Cape Ann foe Lynnfield, 135-128, its first victory at Sagamore Spring Golf Club since 2005. The Vikings were led by Jackson Colbert’s clutch birdie on the final hole and a 28-point performance by Ty Bouchie.
Bouchie also led the Vikings on Thursday, scoring 22 points in a 103-94 win over Ipswich at Rockport Golf Club.
Khalin Kapoor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @khalinkapoor.
Lauren Balcioni is a beverage cart girl who works at a Bay Area golf course on the weekends.
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