H.S. Golf: Eagles, Warriors, Thunder tackle Thomas Memorial

  • Franklin Tech’s Alex Sulda tees off on No. 5 during his round Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Alex Sulda putts on No. 6 during his round Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Alex Sulda chips onto the green at No. 5 Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Alex Sulda tees off on the seventh hole Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Mohawk’s Ben Thompson tees off on No. 8 during his round Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Mohawk’s Ben Thompson putts on the sixth green Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Joey Mosca watches his tee shot on No. 7 during his round Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Joey Mosca chips onto the sixth green Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/17/2019 10:26:42 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Golfers from Franklin County descended on the bright green, open confines of Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club Tuesday afternoon.

The first hole challenges players with a downhill, 362-yard par 4.

The Mohawk Trail, Franklin Tech and Turners Falls golf teams convened for a tri-match on Tuesday.

Players mixed together in groups of three while coaches Sean Knightly of Franklin Tech, Lewis Goodnow of Mohawk Trail and Dave Kennedy of Turners drove carts around to assist with rulings, while also providing coaching for some of the younger players.

After the match, all three teams gathered at the ninth hole to collect scores.

Franklin Tech stayed unbeaten at 5-0 overall with wins over Mohawk Trail (21-3) and Turners Falls (20½-3½).

“Getting to know people like Dave (Kennedy) and Louie (Goodnow), there’s a comfort level,” Knightly said. “I learn from them, I like the way they teach their players. I like the way they help encourage kids on any team to play the right way. If I ever have questions, they are very, very helpful.”

The life of a high school golfer differs greatly from most sports. It’s an individual game, and there is a huge mental component. There are usually no spectators outside of opponents, and practicing in the offseason is not always easy.

Franklin Tech’s Alex Sulda was the No.1 golfer for his team in Tuesday’s match.

“Sometimes the pressure is a lot,” Sulda said. “Once I get into the game, there is a flow. I just think of each and every next shot. Make the next shot as good as I can.”

Sulda fired a 44 on the par 35 course, and for his efforts he took home match medalist honors.

“So far I am doing pretty well,” Sulda said. “My average has gotten lower, just changing up the little things like my mechanics.”

Sulda tied with Turners Falls’ Joey Mosca, 2-2, in their match at No. 1. Practicing for Mosca is not a problem, as Thomas Memorial is located conveniently close to his house.

“When it’s not golf season, I come here a lot,” Mosca said. “If after school I am not doing anything, I come over and play. During the summer, I play four or five times a week.”

Mosca likes the quiet and serene parts of golf, and does not mind the lack of spectators. In fact, he prefers it.

“It’s way more low-key,” Mosca said of the sport. “There are no other people here besides parents. If you had a bad shot, you don’t have to be worried.”

Mosca carded a 45 with solid iron and wedge play. That number helped him earn a tie in his match against Sulda, and he captured a win over Mohawk Trail’s No. 1 golfer Ben Thompson, who shot 49.

Mosca was certainly honest in assessing his overall performance for the Thunder during the early portion of the season.

“Not very good,” Mosca said. “I’ve been putting bad. I will probably come here more.”

Thompson has played golf since seventh grade for the Warriors. There was an early interest in football, but fears of concussions led him to golf.

“I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I ended up loving it,” Thompson said of the sport. “I got really into it. I started practicing hard.”

During the winter, Thompson improvises ways to practice golf around the house.

“If I can’t take full swings, just putting in my basement,” he said. “Just putt at a cup.”

Both Sulda and Thompson said they try to stay sharp at the Western Mass. Family Golf Center in Hadley, which has an indoor facility with a golf simulator.

“We went there a few times,” Thompson said. “It’s always great to get a few full swings in.”

The fact that there are no spectators in high school golf does not bother Thompson.

“You hand your scorecard in and you know on that day that you did really well,” Thompson said. “It’s one of the most difficult sports to master in the world, especially as a high school golfer.”

High school golfers, naturally, do not have as much experience as older golfers.

“In the golf swing, there’s a lot of moving pieces,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to get everything going together. It takes a lot of focus and muscle memory on one thing.”

Anthony’s Zager’s 48 was the second-lowest round of the day for Franklin Tech. Teammate Jacob Shaw was next at 49.

Mohawk Trail (2-4) lost to Turners Falls, 17-7.

Aidan Bailey shot a 49 for the Thunder (2-3), defeating Sam Thompson (62) of Mohawk Trail, 3-1.


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