Local Sports, Preston, Sports

Preston golfer Chayce Andrew tries to stay calm under pressure

KINGWOOD — Way back in 1963, a singing group named The Essex had a No. 1 hit with a song that, believe it or not, is directly related to a key factor for golfing success, perhaps especially at the varsity high school level. 

No, seriously.

Anyone who’s played the game quickly learns that the best way to shoot low is to put the inevitable bad shot behind you and focus entirely on the next shot, right? OK, now sing along: ‘It’s easier/ Easier said than done.’ 

For Preston senior Chayce Andrew, staying focused when shots stray off track has been the biggest challenge as a golfer. 

“It’s kind of crazy how well you can play when things are clicking, and how fast your game can get away from you,” he explained. “One bad shot or unlucky break, and you can lose your focus and ruin your round. I find myself worrying about what my opponent is doing or how my teammates are playing during a match, so it’s always been a struggle for me to keep my composure and control my nerves.” 

Easier said than done.

However, seventh-year Preston golf coach Ryan Cool has made an interesting suggestion that Andrew thinks might make a big difference as he approaches his senior season. 

“Coach Cool told me to stick a song in my head that will kind of block out all those distracting thoughts and keep me positive and calm,” he said. “I know it’s kind of corny, but I’ve always loved “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips, and so I sort of keep that song in my head between shots, and it always puts me in a good frame of mind. Like a good earworm, you know? All I know is, it’s keeping the negative energy out, and letting me stay into my own game, and I hope it continues to work.” 

Cool is looking for this season to be much better than last year, when COVID played havoc with his team’s ability to prepare for the regional tournament. 

“We got shut down the week before regionals,” he said. “We couldn’t practice together as a team at all, and our first day back was the day of the tournament. That was tough. But we have experienced seniors in our top three spots, and a good group of talented underclassmen challenging for the 4-6 slots, so they’re all pushing each other to get better. 

“I think the Region is wide open this year, and since you only need three golfers to shoot well, it really feels like one of those ‘on any given day’ opportunities. I know our guys are capable of going low, so we’ve got as good a chance as anybody, as long as we work hard and continue to improve throughout the year.” 

Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, in Weirton on Sept. 28 at Williams Golf Club, it will be the Knights who will be singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”