The Indian River varsity golf team picked up steam this week, winning two more matches to move to 7-4 on the season and boost themselves to sixth place in the Henlopen Conference, just behind the golfing elite.
Head Coach Neil Beahan and his crew of golfers pushed past Lake Forest on April 28 by a score of 168-181 and shot their best score of the year against Milford, beating them 154-175.
The Indians have played a heap of matches over the past two weeks as they have vaulted towards their mark in the Henlopen Conference. They have won five of their last six matches, while shaving strokes from their scorecards.
In the first five matches of the season, Indian River averaged a team score of 173 as they won two of five matches. Over the past six matches, the Indians have shown how much practice pays off as they trimmed their team score by 10 strokes to 163.
“Our guys have been troopers. They have played a lot over the past two weeks. And some of them have been sick, so I’ve played some other guys and they played well,” said Beahan.
The coach not only played some other guys, he shuffled his lineup to break the monotony and give the team different looks.
“I moved Richard Webster down to the fifth spot from the first and replaced him with Jordan (Hale) against Milford. Jordan knew a kid on their team, so I figured that it would be good for them to play together as well as give Richard a break. It’s tough mentally when you’re up against the best player every match. And when you have six or seven interchangeable guys, it gives you a little flexibility,” said Beahan.
Junior Billy Powell took a seat against Lake Forest to allow an emerging Colten Jensen an opportunity to play.
“Billy wanted a little bit of a break against Lake Forest, so that gave me an opportunity to see what we have for next year. Colten shot a smooth 44, which is three over par, but I’m confident that he will continue to improve,” said Beahan.
Richard Webster and junior Justin Albright shot a team-best 38 in the win against Lake Forest but Webster wowed the conference with his season-low score of 35 against Milford.
“Richard shot really well with some pressure off his shoulders and he was able to get a couple birdies,” said Beahan.
As the Indians keep the wins rolling in, they haven’t forgotten what allowed them their success — practice.
“The guys were so disappointed by the way they shot versus Laurel (175) last week that they were eager to get back to practice, which is always great to hear from your players. I also have to give credit to our assistant coaches — Maynard Esender and Van Browne. They have such a great rapport with the kids. I’ll growl at them, and they play good cops,” said Beahan.
Rather than relying on the same-old-same-old in practice, Beahan invited the kids’ fathers to play with their sons on April 29.
“Five guys had their fathers come and play at practice with us, and everyone had a great time,” said Beahan.
The Indians practice diligently. It has paid off and might turn their fortunes against the top teams. Indian River’s only remaining regular-season matches are against Seaford and Smyrna. But if they make it to the state tournament, they could play any one of the teams that beat them earlier this season. The beginning of their season started with losses to a few top-10 teams, including Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney.
“We’re a better team now than earlier in the season and it’s time for us to make a statement,” said Beahan.