(Aug. 30, 2013) Billy Brittingham is the Worcester Prep golf team’s lone senior and Coach Kevin Gates will look to him to lead the Mallards this season.
“With him leading the team, I’m excited about what can happen. All my chips are on him and he’s got the goods that he can handle it,” said Gates, who has been at the helm for seven seasons. “He’s a very good golfer, but he’s an even better kid. It’s nice when you can get the whole package.”
As a captain and a four-year player, Brittingham said his roles include making sure everyone stays focused, that he and his teammates play well and have fun.
“We’ve got room for improvement, everybody always does, but everyone’s stepped up their game from last year and we’re really coming together,” he said.
The Mallards won all their Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference matches last season. They also captured their sixth consecutive conference championship.
The team lost five seniors to graduation–including its No. 1 (Scott Gee) and No. 2 (Patrick Dowling) golfers– but five Mallards on Gates’ eight-player roster who competed in 2012 have returned this year.
Brittingham was named to the All-Tournament team in 2012. He also earned All-Conference honors, finishing third overall among ESIAC golfers with a 41-stroke average.
As a freshman last year, Jason Cook was named to the All-Tournament Team and was ranked fourth in the ESIAC with a 41.25-stroke average. Cook said his game has improved from last season and with his experience he hopes to assist the newcomers with their swings and help them boost their confidence.
Junior Rylie Doyle was the seventh-ranked golfer in the conference last year with a 53-stroke average. Sophomore John Meakin and Derek Wilgus are also returning veterans.
The Mallards look to build on last year’s success with help from freshmen Reid Carey, Thomas Polk and Jon Ruddo.
“The freshmen will get great experience this year,” Gates said. “Hopefully they will help us this year and down the road.”
The Mallards kicked off the 2013 season with four victories. Worcester faces its strongest competition each year when the squad competes against the public schools of the Bayside Conference. On Tuesday playing with the Bayside schools, the Mallards were led by Cook (42), Brittingham (44), Meakin (44) and Doyle (46), who combined for a team score of 176. They finished in third place. Stephen Decatur won the match with a 151 and Washington was second with a 172. The next match-up with the Bayside schools is Sept. 12.
“We have to play at our very best if we want to play with Decatur,” Gates said. The Mallards also hope to take home their seventh ESIAC title this season.