BRISTOL - The St. Paul boys golf team has an 11-2 record, but individually the group is seeking more.
Putting has been a constant struggle this year. The Falcons have played five home matches at Chippanee Golf Club and two at Westwoods Golf Club.
“One of the biggest reasons for that is we’re constantly playing different courses,” St. Paul coach John Odell said. “Even home courses are different. We don’t always play at Chippanee, so there’s no getting used to one type of green. So their chips are running long or short and same with their putts. They’re just not adapting to the conditions of the change in courses, which is difficult.”
From their All-State golfer Ryne Salius all the way down to Chris Millerick, the No. 5 freshman golfer, the team believes fixing the short game is the key to improvement in the final stretch of the season.
Salius also sees other adjustments to make in his game.
“I need to have better course management,” Salius said. “If I’m in trouble I need to try to not go for the pin to try and save par. Just chipping and hitting it out to the fairway and try to make bogey.”
While Salius is always atop the Falcons’ score sheet with the best rounds, this year has been different from last.
“I was a lot better last year, it’s definitely a down year this year,” Salius said. “Last year I was in the fairway most of the time and my putting way better. Normally I’m pretty straight off the tee and this year sometimes I’ll hit it way right or way left.”
Sam Mazzarelli has seen time at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots for the Falcons this season. At times Mazzarelli has been strong, while other days have been ones to forget.
“I’ve been on and off,” Mazarelli said. “Sometimes I’m on, other days I’m just not playing like I should be. I’ve had good scores and bad scores. I haven’t been consistent at all. I can be consistent low 40s to mid 40s. I’ve just been trying to dial in my short game. I feel that’s where I need to improve the most, to be able to do that.”
An outlier on the team, Dolce believes his short and middle game have been a strength. Dolce has alternated with Mazzarelli at No. 2 and No. 3.
“I can’t really hit the ball too far, but when it comes to the short game and mid game I’m pretty good,” Dolce said.
“I just think all around it comes together with my short game and mid game.”
St. Paul has been strong as a team, but the Falcons are a confident group and are looking to show improvement in the NVL tournament and beyond.
“I think a big impact on us has been our short game,” No. 4 golfer Matt Raymond said. “I’ve noticed playing with a bunch of different teammates and especially myself chipping and putting needs to get a lot better in order for us to put out good scores. I’ve noticed that same trend throughout our entire team. The short game isn’t what it should be. That’s impacting our score the most.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org