Returning trio powers SCA golf

Published 10:24pm Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Suffolk Christian Academy golf program has returned for its second year, and though its varsity ranks have shrunk, the golfers that are left proved their competitiveness in their most recent match the weather allowed last week.

The co-ed Knights golf team narrowly finished third in a tri-match against Atlantic Shores Christian School and Alliance Christian Academy at Portsmouth’s The Links at City Park Golf Course. The Seahawks’ top three scorers combined for 116 strokes, the Falcons had 141 and the Knights had 143.

Suffolk Christian Academy senior Caroline Atherholt-Brown continues to be an asset to her team, hitting from the same tees as male opponents and more than holding her own.
Suffolk Christian Academy senior Caroline Atherholt-Brown continues to be an asset to her team, hitting from the same tees as male opponents and more than holding her own.

An Atlantic Shores golfer was the medalist with a score of 33, but SCA junior Caleb Hayes was second lowest with a 42 for the nine-hole round.

Knights returning head coach Mike Bigony discerned from the record keeping of the event that the opposing schools had fielded as many as five golfers and selected the top three scores. He said had he known, he would have insisted they pick three golfers beforehand to score for the match but was encouraged his team still held its own under the circumstances.

Suffolk Christian featured more varsity players last year, but Bigony said this year, “We lost a couple of the players to tennis,” which the school just added to its co-ed spring sports offerings.

Junior Wyatt Ray was one of those losses, and senior Noah Nickert is applying his focus to another spring sport.

“He’d be a strong addition, but he’s pitching,” Bigony said.

The players the SCA golf program still features, however, have all exhibited strengths and continue to show that potential this season. For some, this was illustrated in the recent tri-match.

Hayes is the Knights’ No. 1 golfer.

“It’s stability, and he is going to be in the top three in medal play of the (match),” Bigony said, noting this is true in any match SCA is in, including last week’s.

The team’s lone female player, senior Caroline Atherholt-Brown, is proving to be quite a force on the links.

“She’s coming along, because she beat probably 70 percent of the boys in the (match) of all three teams,” Bigony said.

She posted a score of 46 last week, playing from the same tees as the male players.

“She attends summer camps,” Bigony said. “She works on her game.”

Junior Grant Carr rounds out the team.

“He’s the biggest kid on the team, and he’s a strong player,” Bigony said. “He just hasn’t put the time in,” due to both academic obligations and weather.

“I have one other kid that I’m in a recruiting stage with,” Bigony said, referring to a potential home schooled player.

This summer, the coach plans to hold camps for those interested in learning to play golf, helping anyone in the area, but also hoping that it can help SCA add to its ranks.

“There’s always one out of 50 that wants to (play), because it’s all uphill,” he said. “There’s nothing instant about it.”

But he alluded to the positive qualities golf can develop in players.

“It takes so much self-motivation and persistence, and it kills the ego because you think you’ve got it one day, the next day you don’t,” he said. “It’s something you can’t build an ego on, because it will humble anybody.”

But it teaches discipline, with which players’ skills can improve.

Bigony identified what the team’s biggest challenge will be this year.

“It comes right back to the weather and when the kids can get out and practice,” he said.

The Knights go on the road Friday against Williamsburg Christian Academy, and Bigony plans to play Atherholt-Brown in the No. 2 slot. The team will tackle the added challenge of a course they are unfamiliar with, playing at the Kiskiack Golf Club.

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