One week after they shot their worst mark of the season (181) against Dover, Indian River head golf coach Neal Beahan decided to jostle his starting lineup for the Lake Forest match, in an attempt to ignite his squad going down the stretch.
Beahan sat seniors Justin Ablright, Craig Conover and Billy Powell, moved Richard Webster and Matt Binstead down a few pegs in favor of a handful of his youngsters and, given the opportunity, they succeeded.
Indian River lambasted Lake Forest 172-214 at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club on May 2, leaving Beahan elated.
“I wanted to see what we had for next year. And I couldn’t believe it, but we only shot one stroke over our season average, which is really quite remarkable,” he said. “I was hoping we’d break 185, so I’m very happy for the kids.”
Sophomore Dan Elliot bounced back from a week of illness and teamed up with freshman Robby Webster in the top two slots. They shot a 46 and 45, respectively.
Webster’s score of 45 marks his best score in three matches this season.
Junior Richard Webster shot a 44 to maintain his season average. His partner, sophomore Paul Silvera, played his first match of the season and shot a team-high 58 but could have had a much lower score with better concentration, according to Beahan.
“Paul shot a 17 on one hole,” Beahan explained. “Paul wants to screw around a little bit at practice, so this is a wakeup call. He could’ve had a much better score if he put the time in on the course.”
Beahan’s most consistent player, Binstead, shot a 37 — and had he not three-putted the last hole, would’ve hit for par.
Freshman Tommy Brady shot a 54 to round out Indian River’s top six.
Indian River currently has five matches remaining, including a tough one against Cape Henlopen on May 9 — and from here on out Beahan said he wants more.
“I want to win out,” he said. “If we can do that, then we set a new team record for team wins. We were disappointed in the Dover match, but it’s time to move on. Cape Henlopen will be the acid test.”
Beahan criticized his players’ preparation leading up to the Dover loss, and he did so with the hope of igniting a fire — a fire he’s still looking for.
“I want them to think ‘this team just did as good without me — I better work harder,’” Beahan explained.
“We get great effort in our matches — now we have to match that same effort in practice. There is no coincidence that Tiger Woods is the best player in golf because he practices hard. There are stories of Jack Nicklaus pitch and putting ’til dark.”
Indian River will travel to Cape Henlopen on May 10 and Seaford on May 11 before bringing it home in the final stretch against Smyrna and Seaford before post-season play.
“We’ve got a good shot to beat Cape Henlopen if we take one shot at a time,” Indians Assistant Coach Maynard Essender said. “Four of our guys haven’t seen the front nine at Cape (Henlopen) but we can win by becoming more coachable.”
Pitching wedge or sand wedge, driver or 3-wood, two-putt or go for the gusto — either way, Essender said, their players can win if they make the right decisions.