Striving for another undefeated season
Not even the wind can stop the North Kingstown High School golf team. The team has been on a 37-0 run in the last three years and despite facing very strong winds, they took down Exeter-West Greenwich and Prout last week to remain undefeated.
"It was definitely not ideal conditions, but we fought through and came up with the win," coach Dom Marcone said.
The Skippers have had two back-to-back undefeated seasons, and are on their third in four years.
"Three years ago, we lost our first match of the season to Westerly and we have not lost another since then," Marcone said. "Ian O'Dwyer, one of our players from Jamestown, is one of only two seniors on the team and in the four years that he has been here we have gone 55-1."
O'Dwyer is the number four player on the squad, and along with Michael Donnelly and Greg North, represents Jamestown on the team.
The biggest challenge for the team this year was playing against Coventry High School on the Coventry Pines course. The Skippers defeated the Oakers by 44 strokes on May 4, but just four days later traveled to Coventry and came home with a 10-stroke victory.
"The course made a big difference. It is a very tight course and actually has an in-course out of bounds," Marcone said. "The USGA regulations say that no course can have that, but because it is a small course and the holes run parallel to each other, they have an exception."
Marcone said his team's strength is in their consistency. Only four strokes separate the number one player's qualifying average from the number six player.
He said another benefit to the team is the number of returning players he has.
"We had five of six starters return from last year, and five of six will come back next year," the coach said. "Next year is going to be our big recruiting year because we will lose the nucleus of our team."
One big difference between golf and other sports, Marcone said, is that even if the players are not in the top six and playing in every match, they still compete.
"Every day their scores count for something," he explained. "take the average of their most recent scores to see who is going to the match. It is not me picking players, they have to perform to be in the top six and where they fall, they fall."
North Kingstown has secured first place in their division, but will still have to be on top of their game in their final regular season match
to keep their win streak alive.
The top two teams automatically qualify for the playoffs, but the teams in third through fifth places have a special playoff round to win the final spot.
The Skippers will face Chariho and South Kingstown, who are fighting for second place. "What they do does not effect us other than they will both be playing their best game, so we have to be careful we do not lose in the process," Marcone said. "Our goal this season was to go undefeated and I am sure our kids will keep that in mind as they are playing."
Even if the Skippers get past the Chargers and Rebels with their streak in tact, Marcone said it is not a clear road to the state championship.
"There are 10 teams who could win states if they put four good rounds together," he said. "That is the thing about golf. It is a fickle sport. One day you go out and shoot par or below and think you have it solved and the next day you shoot ten over and have to grind it out mentally."
Whatever happens, Marcone said his twelfth season with the Skippers has been just as good, if not better than, his first.
"I have the best job out of any coach," Marcone concluded. "I coach great kids and I get to play golf every day."