The Palo Alto High School boys’ golf team (1-0) began the defense of its league title with a close 205-216 win against Homestead last Wednesday at Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course.
Returning senior captain Alex Hwang said that the overall match was disappointing, despite the result.
“Our goal is to break [under] 200 every time,” Hwang said. “But it was kind of a windy day so that was tough. However, I still felt that we played poorly in general.”
Coach Doyle Knight added that the close score is not necessarily representative of the rest of the upcoming season.
“We never play well, for whatever reason, at Sunnyvale Muni, so that score of 205 is not anywhere close to the talent of the kids that played that day,” Knight said. “[The course] just gets in their head or something. We’ve never scored well there [but] they did what they needed to do.”
After winning a second consecutive Santa Clara Valley Athletic League title last season, the boys’ golf team set even loftier goals this season with three key freshman additions. Hwang highlighted the potential he sees in the team this year as central to this year’s success.
“We’ve been pretty good lately, winning our division the last three years and league the last two years,” Hwang said. “I think we definitely have a shot to move past CCS to NorCals for the maybe first time ever.” Last year, the team was knocked out in the first round of CCS.
Fellow senior captain John Knowles added that high expectations for returning players and incoming freshmen should adequately diminish the big losses of graduated seniors Patrick Fuery and Sam Niethammer.
“The key to the upcoming season are two new talented freshmen, Ahmed Ali and Joon-Sung Ha,” Knowles said. “Also, [returning juniors] Henry Gordon and Matt Lewis have gotten a lot better and so, under the watchful gaze of our great coach [Knight], we expect to go far.”
Knight especially underlined how well the new freshmen are adjusting to high school golf.
“[The team has] three new freshmen, two [Ali and Ha] right now are our number one and two in terms of averages,” Knight said. “[The] third freshman did really well when we played Valley Christian [last Tuesday] … He isn’t quite as talented as the other two yet, but he’s showing a lot of promise.”
The team’s next league match will be against Fremont High School at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course.