wounded

SCA golfers seek to improve after loss

Published 10:44pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Suffolk Christian Academy golf team competed on Thursday in the second event of its inaugural season. In a tri-match held at Portsmouth’s The Links at City Park Golf Course, the Knights lost, posting a 188 score to StoneBridge School’s 182 and Alliance Christian Academy’s 169.

But SCA head coach Mike Bigony was excited by the progress he saw in his four players since the team’s first match in March.

Suffolk Christian Academy junior Caroline Atherholt-Brown competes on Thursday during a tri-match with Alliance Christian Academy and StoneBridge School at Portsmouth’s The Links at City Park. The Knights lost to the other two schools, but showed good improvement nonetheless.
Suffolk Christian Academy junior Caroline Atherholt-Brown competes on Thursday during a tri-match with Alliance Christian Academy and StoneBridge School at Portsmouth’s The Links at City Park. The Knights lost to the other two schools, but showed good improvement nonetheless.

“We’re inching up better, even though we got beat by both teams,” he said. “We got beat the first time by about 30 strokes. Now it’s down to six.”

Bigony, who grew up with golf and played it briefly on the professional level, was key in developing all the athletic opportunities at First Baptist Christian School, now known as Suffolk Christian Academy. He explained how he came be coach.

“I compete a lot in the area on the state level and everything else,” he said. “I got my amateur status back, and a lot of guys asked me whenever they asked me to start the sports program, then they just asked me if I would get the golf program eventually going, and I said, ‘OK.’”

As he and his assistant coach, Bobby Draper, have approached coaching the Knights, Bigony has been confronted by the kids’ lack of opportunity to play. He cited a clear antidote being a fall high school season.

Bigony is already in the process of organizing a fitting prelude to a fall season in the form of a summer program featuring weekly clinics for coaches and players with PGA professionals providing instruction. This would help give the kids much needed course time.

“These kids just coming out of school three weeks ago from winter and not playing at all, they’re coming along,” Bigony said. “I can’t be on them too hard. They’ve just got to play. That’s why I want to get them in summer golf, because if we can move from summer golf, playing every day almost, then into fall competition.”

His number one golfer on the Suffolk Christian team is sophomore Caleb Hayes.

“He’s a good accurate iron player,” Bigony said.

The Links at City Park is a small course that relies a lot on the use of irons, and Bigony expected Hayes to play well. He ended up tying for the best score of the match with a nine-hole score of 37 and gave his take on the season thus far.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” he said. “I think everybody’s definitely got room to improve. I think as the season goes, we’ll definitely get better.”

Sophomore Grant Carr is the No. 2 golfer on the team.

“He’s the most improved player that I have,” Bigony said. “He has probably doubled the distance that he can hit his driver because he’s grown so much in the past year. He has grown at least six inches and has put on at least 40 pounds. He’s in that growth spurt right now.”

The coach praised sophomore Wyatt Ray for his analytical curiosity into how the game works that has helped him improve as a player.

Junior Caroline Atherholt-Brown rounds out the co-ed team. She is known at SCA for being a cheerleader, but has expressed a desire to play golf and Bigony has already seen her show promise. She beat out some of the boys on Thursday, playing from the same distance, with a score of 43.

Suffolk Christian Academy (0-3) will return to the links next Tuesday when they host Alliance Christian at the Nansemond River Golf Club.

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