CLOVER — The Clover High School boys golf team — a blend of youth and experience this season — defeated rival York last week in an early-season showdown at York’s Spring Lake Country Club.
The visiting Blue Eagles prevailed with a cumulative team score of 157, eight shots ahead of York’s 165.
Both the Blue Eagle and Cougar linksmen escaped the predicted rainfall, which occurred shortly after the match was completed.
Mindful of the team’s different makeup this season, CHS head golf coach Eric Harper wasn’t sure what to expect when the Blue Eagles arrived at the sprawling Spring Lake course.
Harper was pleased with the Blue Eagle team’s winning effort against the host Cougar golfers. He talked about this year’s Clover golf participants during a break from the action at Spring Lake.
“We have three seniors, with talented younger golfers pushing the older golfers,” Harper said.
Harper said he’s still looking for a low scorer to emerge as the season moves along in region play.
“Seventh-grader Andrew White has made the team’s first six and continues to show progress,” he said. “We’re hoping someone will step up and will do it by committee for now, with all of the players contributing.”
The CHS coach said ninth-grader Harrison Parrish has played well in the early-season and appears to be a contributor.
“We have players driving the ball well, who are continuing to work on their chipping and putting,” said Harper. “The players will learn to adjust to different courses during the season.”
Senior mainstay Logan McAlister, a sixth-year high school golf participant, said the years have gone by too fast.
“The biggest change in my golf game since the seventh-grade is that I am older and stronger,” he noted. “Though I can drive the ball better off the tee, I am working on keeping the ball in the fairway instead of being concerned with distance.”
McAlister said he is more confident driving the ball off the tee than other phases of the game at this stage of the season.
“I am working on my chipping and putting,” he said.
Added McAlister, “I am excited about my senior year and ready to assume a leadership role.”
He noted that the arrival of region play requires a different mindset.
“We have the players to compete in the region,” McAlister said. “I will continue to work on my game. I feel good about the team.”
Nathan Boepple, a freshman and third-year CHS golfer, began playing golf at the age of 10.
To say that Boepple is from a golfing family would be an understatement of sorts. “My dad (Matt) was the No. 2 golfer in the nation in his age group at 15,” he noted. “Both my granddads and both grandmothers played golf. We are very much a golf family.”
Boepple said he is more comfortable with his tee shots and putting in early-season competition.
“I’m not nervous putting,” he said.
The confident freshman said he feels good about his game and will stay focused.
“I know I need to keep working to improve my game,” said Boepple. “I love this sport.”
In assessing this year’s personnel, Harper said senior standout Aaron Harvell has an opportunity to take his game to the next level.
“Spartanburg Methodist is showing interest,” he said. “We’re playing in five tournaments, which is good experience for the team and allows a senior like Aaron to be seen by college scouts.”
The Blue Eagle golfers will take a break from Region 3-AAAA play when they compete in the Magnolia Invitational March 18 and 19. The Magnolia event will be followed by the Stallion Tournament March 21 and the Palmetto Tournament March 28-30.