H.S. Golf Preview: Franklin County golfers ready to get back to work

  • Frontier’s Mikey Corduff putts at Cherry Hill Golf Course in Amherst during a match last season. The senior leads a talented and deep Red Hawk roster this fall. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Joey Mosca watches his tee shot at Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club in Turners Falls during a match last year. Mosca is expected to be the No. 1 golfer for the Thunder this fall. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

For the Recorder
Published: 9/28/2020 4:47:27 PM
Modified: 9/28/2020 6:19:09 PM

Local high school golfers will take to the links in the Franklin County bubble starting this week, and they’ll do so with the hopes of an invitational tournament at the end of the fall as the PVIAC is aiming to play some form of final event in late October as a culmination of the pandemic-shortened season.

Each team will play an eight-match schedule with no league championships or playoffs. It’s certainly a bit different than normal, but for the most part, just getting out and playing competitive golf on courses sprinkled across Franklin County will be a welcomed change from quarantine and isolation from teammates.

“The kids are getting out and playing,” Frontier coach Bill Fitzpatrick said. “There’s no championship, no league championship. It should be a great season because I can get some younger kids into play. It’s a great time to get them into some matches.”

Another positive about the upcoming golf season is a slight increase in roster numbers for some teams who have new athletes coming from sports that were postponed to Fall II.

Frontier figures to be the top team in Franklin County, and the Red Hawks boast the best numbers with 23 golfers on the roster. Even with the ability to give younger players a chance to play, Frontier will still rely on a formidable threesome at the top of their cards.

“Our top three guys are all shooting par or under,” Fitzpatrick said. “No one was going to touch us. But hey, the whole country is in the same boat. I think we would have had a great showing at states. I think we would have won Western Mass.”

The decorated Mikey Corduff enters his senior season for the Red Hawks.

“I am going into it the same way I always do,” Corduff said. “It’s my last year.”

Corduff said he would like to continue playing golf in college, with a possible postgraduate season at a prep school in the mix for his future.

The Red Hawks finished fourth at the WMass Div. 2 tournament last season, where Corduff and Gunnar Moore both shot 84 at the Country Club of Pittsfield to tie them for sixth place. Both golfers qualified for states — Moore as an eighth-grader and Corduff making his third trip to the event. Moore said he relishes the daily opportunity to compete against Corduff at practice at Cherry Hill Golf Course in Amherst.

“It’s a friendly competition,” Moore said. “It’s great to come to practice knowing there will be a good battle every day.”

Kyle Maynard missed qualifying for states by just two strokes a year ago, and he’s primed for a solid senior season.

“I just have to make it work for what I have right now,” Maynard said. “It’s seven matches in my last year. Just gonna have to deal with it. It’s not something I can change.”

Local matches begin Tuesday when Pioneer plays at Hopkins Academy, which is joining the Franklin County bubble and will play against local schools. Turners Falls hosts Mahar on Wednesday.

New golfers fill out Turners roster

The Thunder have six golfers on the roster heading into the season.

“That’s a pleasant surprise,” Turners Falls coach Dave Kennedy said.

Freshman Joey Mosca figures to be the No. 1 golfer for the Thunder.

“He (Mosca) does everything well,” Kennedy said. “He can hit the ball off the tee, hits his irons well and putts and chips well.”

Mosca, who is a fiery competitor on the course for the Thunder, said he is working on his short game the most heading into the season.

“Just trying to get it closer and not leaving longer putts,” Mosca said. “I can have a bad hole or a bad shot … but I can come back with a couple good shots better this year.”

Turners Falls added two additional golfers from the volleyball team in Stephanie Peterson and Taylor Greene.

“With no volleyball, they wanted to do something,” Kennedy said. “We have seen improvement and that’s all we can expect from anyone. Being someone that loves golf, it is great to see the game grow.”

Greene is taking it slow at practice at Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club.

“I find it relieving to hit the ball,” Greene said. “It’s only day three and I am finishing my putts. I hope to win at least one match this season.”

Franklin Tech seeking consistency through depth

The Eagles have a relatively experienced golfer at each slot and should use that to their advantage during the shortened season.

Ryan Artus and Nathan Sciandra are the lone seniors on the team, while Anthony Zager, Alex Sulda and Matt Marchefka bring varsity experience from last season to the roster.

“We have a lot of golfers vying for the top spot,” Franklin Tech coach Sean Knightly said.

Brady Booska is a freshman showing some ability for the Eagles.

The Eagles placed fourth as a team at the WMass Div. 3 tournament last season after winning the Bi-County West with another undefeated regular season.

Greenfield’s Cote looks to continue momentum

Ryan Cote topped Franklin County at the WMass Div. 2 tournament a year ago, posting a strong fifth-place individual effort.

The Greenfield junior said he was disappointed with the lack of a postseason in his upcoming campaign, as he had high hopes for the 2020 campaign.

“It was disappointing definitely,” Cote said. “I was really looking forward to the end of the year. Everything builds up to that.”

Cote said he can still use this season to build toward a strong senior campaign in 2021. He’s had a big summer on the tournament scene, playing well in Mass Golf events as well as junior tournaments.

“Everything is more smooth and I am a lot more confident,” Cote said of his game.

Greenfield enters the season at the Country Club of Greenfield with eight golfers on its roster. The program grabbed Drew Conant from the football team. There is golf in the Conant family — his father Brodie is a two-time Invitational Four-Ball champion at CCG — so he’s been around the game plenty before his first varsity season.

“We are looking pretty good,” Greenfield coach Josh Cook said of the team. “We got a lot of guys who can play. So we will see how we compare to the rest of the county.”

Sophomore Dylan Archer is another golfer to watch for the Green Wave.

Pioneer springs late varsity squad

The 16 athletes participating on the Pioneer Valley Regional roster were prepared to play a club schedule, but a late waiver gave the Panthers an opportunity to play a varsity schedule this fall. Pioneer hasn’t sponsored a golf program since 2017.

“They were very happy. It opens more opportunities to play other schools,” Pioneer coach Todd Cromack said of his new team. “I don’t know many club golf teams. They are pretty excited, I am excited and the administration is excited. There was a consensus from the parents and the school that there was a demand for it.”

Jared Hubbard is a first-year high school golfer but has played in the past. Hubbard came over to the program from the soccer team, which had its season postponed.

“Good overall athlete,” Cromack said of Hubbard. “He hits very long and very straight.”

Jalen McGraw and Jayden Fox also look promising for the Panthers and figure to be in the squad’s top three. Twins Cameron and Connor Platek are freshmen who will see some action, as the team will play out of Northfield Golf Club.

Michael Cyhowski (seventh grade) and Cam Curtis (eighth) are golfers who Cromack said will gain some valuable experience for the Panthers.

Dodge gets help from father to hatch Athol career

When Ellinwood Country Club opened for business this season, Isaac Dodge figured he would give golf a chance.

He wasn’t alone, going out with his father, Adam Dodge.

“I have been going out and playing with him,” Isaac Dodge said of his father. “He’s a good teacher. He’s been mentoring me.”

With Athol adding a golf squad this fall, everything worked out perfectly as Dodge enters his first varsity season. Although he has looked good in practice, he said there are still questions about how his game will fare in a competitive situation.

“I haven’t played anybody,” Dodge said. “It’s so much different. I could have a complete breakdown or pick up my game even more.”

New Athol head coach Josh Talbot takes over the new program for Athol, which hasn’t fielded a golf team in over a decade. The school had spring golf in the past, but has never participated in fall golf until this season.

The Red Raiders have 16 golfers on the roster, with more trickling in as practices have proceeded.

“The kids are loving it,” Talbot said. “They need a lot of work on their games. Most of them haven’t played. But they are having a great time. It’s great to give them something to do.”

Talbot said he hopes the program will continue beyond this season.

“The plan is for it to be a one-year thing,” Talbot said. “With the type of numbers we have there is zero chance that the people on the school committee or the people in administration are going to turn down this type of opportunity for kids.”

Owen Willhite is another golfer showing some good all-around skills for the Red Raiders.

Mahar teaching fundamentals to a young roster

There’s a lot of youthful exuberance in Orange this fall.

The Senators’ roster consists of four eighth-graders, a sophomore, a junior and potentially a senior, according to coach Matt Bardsley.

“It’s been a different season, for sure,” Bardsley said. “Just trying to teach the fundamentals of golf. Everything from scoring, etiquette and rules.”

Andrew Finch brings some experience to the roster. Dylan Young is an eighth-grader for the Senators who can launch the ball.

Mohawk Trail embracing youth movement

Sophomore Ben Thompson returns at the No. 1 golfer for the Warriors.

“We are still a young team,” Mohawk Trail coach Lewis Goodnow said. “Most of my guys haven’t been in the postseason so we aren’t worried about that. Just happy to be out on the course. We are excited for the year.”

Thompson has exquisite form, and Goodnow said they’re working on his consistency in preparation for this year.

Phineas Tuttman took advantage of stiff competition last year at the No. 2 spot to improve his game heading into his eighth-grade campaign.

Fellow eighth-grader Logan Moore worked on his game over the summer and has looked good at Edge Hill Golf Course during the preseason.

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