Tiger golfers will mix youth & experience
If last season was the rebuilding year, consider this season to be the payoff.
The Douglas boys’ golf team picked up a seventh-place finish as a team at the Northern 4A Regionals last year despite having no seniors on the squad.
This year, the Tigers come in senior-laden and talent-heavy with a solid mix of veteran and rookie players.
“We should have quite a bit of depth,” Douglas coach Brent Eddy said. “We have a lot of kids that are very capable of playing well. Our top four or five spots are pretty well locked in, but after that we have a lot of guys that will be competing for the five and six spots. It could end up being a different guy each week in those bottom two spots.
“We’re expecting it to be a good year.”
While Douglas returns a number of battle-proven commodities, including junior Troy Shields, senior Reese Kizer, four-year player Trevor Mitchell, and sophomore Eric Guzman, the team will be led by freshman Thomas Wicker.
“Thomas won the icebreaker heading into the year and has a lot of experience even though he’s a freshman,” Eddy said. “He has competed in the Northern Nevada Junior Golf Circuit and has played in a lot of tournaments.
“That will really help him. It’s one of the reasons he’s been able to step up and compete like he has already. He’s very calm out there and will help us out a lot this year.”
Shields has also made a name for himself on the junior summer circuit, giving the Tigers two viable year-round, golf-only players heading their top two leading into the season.
Kizer has been a solid contributor for the Tigers over the last two seasons and Mitchell is showing the benefits of having been with the team since his freshman year.
Guzman had a surprising run through the regional tournament last year, leading the Tigers as a freshman with a two-day total of 166 to take 30th overall.
After the core starters, the Tigers will have up to four or five players competing for the remaining spots each week, although with a roster of 16 ” the largest Eddy has carried into a season in quite some time ” he said he wouldn’t be surprised to see someone else step up into the mix.
Among the Tigers competing for the final two starting spots will be Connor Witt, Wes Haskell, D.J. Dykes, Keith Young and Ray Feldmiller.
“We’re looking for a couple of guys to step up,” Eddy said. “The two top teams at regionals go to state. We’d have to have a good run to do it, but we definitely have the talent this year to make it.”
One of the keys to getting there will simply be in cutting down strokes, especially in the short game, Eddy said.
“We’re focusing a lot of our work to stuff around the greens,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of pressure competition too, working on holding them accountable for each round we play with a tournament scorecard.
“We’re trying to keep everything more high stakes in practice, so that there is always someone watching them. That way we get more of that tournament atmosphere.”
Of Douglas’ 16 players, eight are seniors.