(Nov. 7, 2014) Five Stephen Decatur golfers competed in the state championship on the University of Maryland College Park course last week.
The foursome comprised of seniors Danny Parker, Delaney Iacona and Brooks Holloway and sophomore Matt Kristick represented Decatur during the tournament. Freshman Matt Kinsey also participated in the match individually.
The 4A/3A schools competed last Monday and the 2A/1A schools took to the course the following day for the semifinal rounds. Eight out of the 22 teams playing Oct. 27 and two of the seven going head-to-head Oct. 28, and top 40 percent of individuals from each group advanced to the final round on Oct. 29.
Parker, Iacona, Holloway and Kristick scored a combined 326 in the semifinals to advance to the championship round.
Kristick led the Seahawks, shooting a 5 over par 76.
“My performance on Day 1 was pretty solid,” he said. “I didn’t have my best stuff that day, but I was able to grind it out and still put up a great score for the team.”
After the first day he was in 14th place, just seven shots behind the leader.
Parker posted a 79 during the semifinal round, Holloway shot an 81 and Iacona carded a 90.
“I felt like I hit the ball really solid off of the tee and my approach shots were accurate,” Holloway said. “My short game was a little off because the greens were very fast and difficult to read. I was fairly satisfied with my ending score.”
Kinsey carded an 85, missing the cut by two strokes.
“I felt I played well at states, but I knew I made some errors that cost me the chance to get in the second day. Getting those four double bogeys were the main reason I didn’t get to the second day,” Kinsey said. “On the same note, I felt for my first year at states an 85 wasn’t terrible. My experience at states is something that I will never forget after my freshman year because I got to play with three seniors at states being they are my teammates that taught me a lot…for the years to come.”
Parker, Iacona, Kristick and Holloway finished Day 2 with a team score of 335.
Iacona shot an 83 in the final round. She placed 14th overall in the state out of 44 female golfers.
“I played a lot better on Day 2 then I did on Day 1. I think it’s because there were a lot of nerves on Day 1,” Iacona said. “It was my last tournament, I was with really good girls, and I just wanted to show everyone how I could do.”
This was Iacona’s fourth state tournament appearance.
“I enjoyed all four years,” she said. “Even though some years I didn’t make it to the second day, just being up there and being able to spend that time with the team was worth it.”
Parker carded an 80 and Kristick logged an 83 the second day of competition.
They tied for 31st place in the state out of 147 male golfers.
“I feel I played pretty solid. The only thing lacking was my short game. My chipping was not up to the standards I would have liked it to be, my putting was OK, it was just very difficult going from flat land to hilly land which made reading the greens more challenging,” Parker said. “My experience at states was a lot of fun. Although I might not have scored up to my standards, I still had a blast spending time with the team on and off the golf course.”
“Going into the second day, I knew it was a long shot for the individual title, but I still wanted to put up a good score for the team. In the beginning of the round I wasn’t able to get any momentum…I then proceed to start to force things [and] in golf that is never a good thing, which resulted in the poor score for the day,” Kristick said. “States was the highlight of the year. I really enjoyed the entire experience from the actual competition and also having the opportunity to hang out with my teammates and golfers in our conference. I’m really looking forward to coming back again next year.”
Holloway shot an 89 in the finals. He tied for 69th place in the state with two other golfers. Holloway said he would sum up his experience at states as fulfilling, emotional, proud and complete.
“Day 2, I was approached by a very good coach and friend of mine, Bob Beckelman, who told me that he would be scoring my group for the day. It made me feel even more comfortable about the match and knowing it was my final match for Decatur it was emotional as well,” Holloway said. “I think I may have felt too comfortable and noticed it off the first tee. The weather had changed becoming very windy and the temperature dropped throughout the day adding to the difficulty of play. I certainly didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked to, but I was proud to just be competing at the state level and on the final day…My final putt was very emotional. It was the culmination of four fantastic years that I wouldn’t change for anything.”
The Seahawks placed ninth overall (eighth in 3A/4A) in the state championships.
“Coach [Don] Furbay and I were very pleased with the players’ performances, even though each one of them could have shot 5-10 shots better. I have always stressed how disadvantaged Eastern Shore teams are at the state tournament, due to the extreme elevation changes. Teams from the other side of the bridge have grown up playing hilly courses which is a distinct advantage,” said Decatur Coach Jim Krall. “So considering our overall team’s lack of exposure to that type of layout I’d say we did very well.”
Decatur went undefeated, 10-0, during the regular season. The Seahawks also captured the Bayside Conference and District VIII championship trophies for the third consecutive year.
“Coach Furbay and I couldn’t have scripted [the season] any better. We had five of the most enjoyable young people to spend time with. Each one of them brought a unique personality trait to the team,” Krall said. “The chemistry was wonderful and truly rewarding to witness all season. I can’t believe the season is over already. Time flies when you’re having fun.”
Parker, who missed the first five matches because of a broken wrist, was the top golfer in the Bayside South with a 38.43 average. He said he was pretty happy with his performance this season.
“As soon as I returned we started shooting the lower numbers we knew we were all capable of shooting. As a team I think we did great,” Parker said. “It was really fun competing for Decatur, but it is also sad and disappointing that my last season has come to an end. We accomplished a lot of goals throughout the years.”
Kristick was close behind Parker with a 38.75 average.
“This year our team had a lot of success…However, this season as an individual was a little disappointing,” Kristick said. “I came into the season making a couple of changes in my game. As a result, I wasn’t able to live up to all of my expectations…I’m hoping that I can get more comfortable with the changes and be right back at it next year.”
Holloway landed in the fifth spot with a 40.25 average and Iacona took the seventh slot (41.67).
“I think my overall season personally went well. I improved as I had each year prior. I remained consistent and steady throughout the year [and] I was medalist twice,” Holloway said. “As far as the season competing as a team, I could not have asked for more. My teammates are my friends, we look out for each other, we respect each other, we support each other and in the end we feel each others joys and pain.”
“Personally, I feel that I started out pretty slow, but then later in the season I got into a groove and started playing really well,” Iacona said. “Being a part of Decatur’s golf team was the greatest experience of my life. I loved each and every year. The coaches are family, all the kids I got to play with are family and it’s going to be really, really hard to say goodbye. I am blessed to have been part of such a great team.”
Kinsey had a solid freshman season. He was ranked ninth overall in the Bayside South with a 41.83 average.
“I feel coming in ninth in the Bayside was pretty good because now I feel like if that’s how I played my freshman year I could play so much better through the next few years in high school [and] that the only direction I could go in is forward,” Kinsey said.
Parker, Kristick and Holloway earned All-Conference First Team honors. Iacona and Kinsey received Second Team accolades.
Krall said Kristick and Kinsey will have to fill the leadership roles next season.
“Losing three sensational seniors to graduation is a big hit. Hopefully several of the JV players will raise their level of play in the off-season as well as some new acquisitions coming up from the middle school,” Krall said.