Local Sports, Sports, University

UHS golf team fields promising squad

Last season, the University golf team did not achieve their annual season-goal, which is always the same — qualify for the State Championship match by finishing in the top two at the Regional tournament. However, the Hawks are returning several seniors who competed for points last year, as well as solid sophomore Daniel Grabo, and will be led by an individual qualifier from last year in Landon Spiker.

That’s a pretty nice place to begin building a squad for sixth-year coach Barry Kolar.

“I think we have a nice mix of experience and young, talented players,” Kolar said. “Plus our numbers are solid enough that we can support a full JV team, and not have any cuts, either. That’s really an ideal number for a coach. The beginners get high school golf experience, and some individual coaching as well, and at the varsity level, there will be internal competition for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots between several kids all year long.”

Spiker, Kolar’s bar-setting junior who’s bigger, stronger, and longer after the summer, may be a young man of few words, but he’s definitely not lacking in confidence.

“I feel like it’s my job to be the leader,” he insisted. “That’s what being the #1 is all about. My goal is to play consistently well all season, and to help the younger guys stay focused and keep their heads up. I learned last year that I don’t have to play a spectacular round to score well. Just going out and playing my regular game is almost always good enough.

“If I can keep my driver accurate, I should be able to avoid bad holes,” he continued, “which can ruin your round. My short game and putting is the best part of my game — I worked really hard on the scoring shots around the green and my putting this summer — so as long as I’m hitting from the short grass, I should be good.”

The Hawks will once again call Montainview Golf Course in Morgantown their home, and Kolar sees that as a constant advantage for his Hawks.

“It’s really a unique course,” he said, “with lots of specific landing spots and terrain issues that allow for some home course advantage — ‘the ol’ members’ bounce.’ We play the course every day, so we sometimes have an opportunity to score better on some holes than an opponent who’s less familiar. We’re lucky to have that in our pocket every home match. But you have to execute, and that will make the difference for us this year — how often we are able to execute.

“All you need is three good scores in Regionals,” Kolar concluded. “I know we have talented golfers who are capable of shooting low. We just need to put it all together on the right day.”


TWEET @DomPostSports