Indian River’s golf team killed four birds with one stone on May 15, to win consecutive Southern Division championships and set a school record for wins (13) by beating Seaford and Southern contender Smyrna in a dual match at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club.
The biggest of the proverbial birds fell as Indian River edged out Smyrna 167-176 for the Southern championship and the right to play Dover in the North-South conference game at Baywood Greens on May 19.
Seaford proved no threat to thwarting any of the Indians’ accomplishments and pulled up the rear with a score of 189.
Matt Binsted led the Indians with a score of 41, while Justin Albright, Richard Webster and Dan Elliot nipped at his heels with scores of 42.
Despite Smyrna losing four of their last six matches (Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen, Caesar Rodney and Dover) Indians Head Coach Neal Beahan noted the opposing team was “very well prepared” for its match against Indian River and that a win wouldn’t be easy for IR — but four straight wins prior to the dual match would help.
Indian River last lost to Dover (169-181), because, as Beahan noted, his team was unprepared following a long Easter break. But this time he’s confident that they can beat the Senators for the conference championship.
“We were in a similar situation last year when we played poorly against Sussex Tech) but then we turned it around,” Beahan said, referencing the 169-180 regular-season loss against Tech, and their 11-3 record from that point until the championship game.
“Last year, we started peaking at the right time to win the division and play Sussex Tech for the conference championship. But I don’t think we really believed we could beat them,” Beahan added. “We ended up tying them and going into overtime.”
The 232-232 game went to the fifth golfer and Sussex Tech won in overtime, 232-234.
“So this year we’re not going to be intimidated,” Beahan continued. “We’ve had our ups and downs this season, but we’ve proved we belong.”
Beahan went one step further and said that Indian River actually was in a better position to win a conference championship this year as opposed to last year.
“Honestly, I like our position better this year. Dover is very beatable but it is going to come down to course management and execution,” he said.
But to really have a chance this year, Beahan said, all of his golfers must shoot well or be prepared to play second fiddle to the Northern Conference again.
Beahan’s team is playing well of late, winning its last six matches. He isn’t sure who his sixth golfer will be, though he is certain that his fifth — Billy Powell — will rebound from his worst round of the year (55) against Smyrna and will be the “X-factor” in the championship.
“He’s played really well the last three matches, Beahan said. “He can pull it through very easily.”
“We’ve matured as a team, but now we all have to pick up the slack,” he added.
Currently, Baywood Greens is booked through the week, making it hard for a practice run before the championship match. But a good week of practice, combined with a strategy session on the way up, could do the trick.