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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 6, 2011

Guilderland golf team on a roll with win streak despite unfriendly weather

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The wet weather has been the toughest opponent for the Guilderland golf team this season.

Coming off a four-match winning streak, the Dutchmen hosted Colonie at the Western Turnpike Golf Course on Friday. The ground was completely saturated, creating a few streams of water in the rough.

“This is one of the toughest falls that I can remember,” said Guilderland Head Coach Andy Ryan, who was playing a round with Colonie’s coach. Ryan has coached the team for 10 years. “We’ve done what we can. As far as playing, you get around fine. It’s been a little soggy, but the key is just getting the matches in.”

In wet conditions, players need to hit the ball cleanly or it won’t travel as far. However, Ryan said that a damp green could be better. “The ball won’t roll as far after an approach shot,” he said. “You have to play a long course.”

Guilderland beat Colonie, 250 to 259, for its fifth straight win. Junior Billy Duncan and senior Jess Madsen each scored a 40 over nine holes. For a match, the field is split up into four groups of two pairs. Each team adds up its six lowest scores.

Unlike a professional golf tournament, top players tee off first. “They have quicker strokes,” Ryan said.

Duncan is Guilderland’s number-one player with a 39.5 average. Ryan said that any average under 40 is great for a high school player. “He’s consistent,” said Ryan. “He strikes it well.”

Senior Captain Toby Wikes is number two with an average of 42.4, and Madsen is number-three with 43.8. Madsen plays the same distance as her male counterparts.

“She more than holds her own,” Ryan said of Madsen, who plays a lot of golf. “She’s very competitive and knows the rules very well. She has serious commitment and it’s great for our program.”

Guilderland has called the Western Turnpike Golf Course home for seven years. It has three different nine-hole courses, so play is readily available. Golf Pro Herb Moreland teaches some of the Dutch players.

“They treat us well,” Ryan said. “Herb is always checking in.”

What is Western Turnpike’s toughest hole?

“It’s hard to say,” said Ryan. “It’s not that long, but it has some tricky holes. It’s a placement course. You have to hit the right spots.”

Guilderland is 6-7, and placed sixth out of 12 teams at the Suburban Council Championships.

On Friday, the course was really quiet. Ryan was surprised not to see any other golfers.

“There’s no referees in golf,” Ryan said. “There’s an honor code. The kids have fun with it.”

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