(Nov. 8, 2013) Five Stephen Decatur golfers competed in the 4A/3A state championship on the University of Maryland College Park course last week.
The foursome of freshman Matt Kristick, senior captain Andrew Urban and juniors Danny Parker and Brooks Holloway represented Decatur as a team. Junior Delaney Iacona also participated in the match, but as an individual.
It was the third time Urban and Iacona had advanced to the state tournament. Parker, Kristick and Holloway made their championship debuts.
The 4A/3A semifinal round took place Oct. 28. With 148 golfers playing, Decatur Coach Jim Krall said it was the largest field of participants he could remember. With so many golfers, last Monday’s semifinals took six hours and 45 minutes to complete.
Urban shot an 81, the lowest score among the Decatur Seahawks.
“I definitely could have played better, but the conditions were very tough and posting a good round would have been very difficult with the slow play,” Urban said. “The lowest round was, 73, two over (par), which is one of the highest low rounds for Day 1 in a long time.”
Kristick carded an 82. He was not pleased with his performance overall.
“I felt that I could have played much better given the opportunity again. The competition was very high, but there was no reason why I couldn’t compete with them,” Kristick said. “The greens were rock hard and it was the slowest round of golf I have ever played.”
Iacona tallied an 89. She said she didn’t play her best golf.
“I felt really out of the ordinary. The girls were very good,” Iacona said.
Holloway also said his performance wasn’t his best. He recorded a 90.
“[It] is definitely one of the hardest courses I have ever played on,” Holloway said. “The competition was different. It’s states, so everyone is there because they can play good golf.”
Parker, who said it was hard to get a rhythm going when there was a wait on almost every tee box, shot a 92.
“I didn’t perform to the best of my ability…If I had eliminated some of the bad scores then I might have been able to gain a little more confidence, which could’ve resulted in a lower (overall) score,” he said.
The four boys, competing as a team, carded a 345. To advance to the final round on Oct. 30, the cutoff score was 334.
The boys’ individual cutoff was 84, so Urban and Kristick qualified for Day 2 finals. The girls’ cutoff score was 87. Iacona came up two strokes short of advancing to the championship round.
Kristick said he performed much better during Day 2 then he did in the semifinal round. He shot a 75.
“I ended up having the third lowest score that day out of all the guys, which was a good way to end the year,” Kristick said. “In my season, I endured a lot of ups and downs. I got off to a good start, but midway through the season I hit a slump. I couldn’t do anything on the course. At the end of the regular season, I started to pick up my game and started to shoot some low scores.”
Urban said he was disappointed with his Day 2 performance and that there was something wrong he couldn’t put his finger on. He scored an 89.
“It was just an extremely bad day and that’s what makes golf such an emotionally exhausting sport,” he said. “I had much higher goals for myself in the season and I know I didn’t play to my potential, but I have another four years of college golf to make up for it. As a team, I thought we played as a solid five-man team that could beat any team if we played our best. We exceeded expectations and that couldn’t make me any happier.”
Decatur won nine of the 10 regular-season matches and finished second in one. The Seahawks captured the Bayside Conference and District VIII championship trophies for the second consecutive year.
“We had a sensational season and we will have banners in the gym to show our accomplishments,” Krall said.
Urban, Kristick and Parker earned First Team All-Conference honors. Iacona and Holloway received Second Team accolades.
Krall will have nearly all of the golfers who competed this season back in 2014, except for Urban and Chase Eslin, who will graduate.
Urban, a member of the team for four years, finished as the top golfer in the conference with a 38.58 average.
“My last year was so much fun and I’m going to miss it a lot. I was surrounded by great people day in and day out and there isn’t anybody else I can think of that I’d rather spend my time on the golf course with,” Urban said. “Playing golf for Decatur was an experience that I’ll never forget and it’s going to be tough to graduate from a program that’s been so great.”
Krall said next year’s team should be led by Parker, Iacona, Holloway and Kristick, who tied for 14th place overall in the state.
“Matt really peaked in the post-season and made a name for himself in the conference,” Krall said.
Added Kristick,” This first year on the golf team was a fantastic experience. I had a lot of fun playing and helping the team out. I’ve never been able to be part of a team in golf until this year. I really look forward to playing for Decatur the next three years.”