Cougars feel right at home on Old Hickory

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
North Putnam junior J.J. Burns sinks his par putt on number eight at Old Hickory. Burns shot a 40 in the Cougar victory over Rockville and Turkey Run.

After spending much of its practice season looking for a home, North Putnam's golf team returned to Old Hickory just one week ago. They then endured a week in which the weather only allowed for two official practices.

While these facts appear to negate the Cougars' home course advantage, their opening night scores showed no signs of struggle. They shot a 153 Monday to beat Rockville and Turkey Run by 19 and 20 strokes, respectively.

It looks like the Cougars will feel at home wherever they are playing this season.

Coach Keith Bodnarick said he thought, if anything, the two weeks practicing at Twin Bridges in Danville helped his team.

"Twin Bridges is a much tougher course, so I think we benefited from the experience," he said.

Considering Bodnarick's team is veteran-laden (one senior and five juniors), the players already knew Old Hickory and simply took the changes in stride. Besides this, the Cougars have a committed group this season.

"All my guys go out anyway if we don't have practice. They were all out Saturday and Sunday," said Bodnarick.

The Cougars were paced by their number one, senior Eric Whitaker, and number three, junior Austin Malayer, each of whom had a one-over 37. Following close behind were Patrick Byrd with a 39 and J.J. Burns with a 40.

"I feel pretty good. This is a pretty good score to start the year," Bodnarick said.

In spite of the Cougars' consistent play, Rockville sophomore Adam Powell was medalist. Bodnarick was impressed with what he saw from this young opponent.

"Powell strikes the ball very well. He's somebody with a lot of potential."

Besides Powell, though, neither visiting team brought many low scores. North Putnam had the second-through-sixth-best scores on the night, including Jeremy Redman's 41, which did not even count toward the team score.

The Cougars' number six, Kyle Smith, shot a 47.

"We were striking the ball very well," said Bodnarick.

"Short game is always a concern at this time of year. It's the last part of your game to come together. Overall, looking at our putting stats, we did pretty well tonight."

With this match under their belts, the Cougars have what they hope is a successful season underway. One of their goals is to make it out of sectional -- a tall order in one of the state's toughest sectionals.

"For us to do what we want to do this year we need to shoot like this every night," said Bodnarick.

"It's a great way to start the year."

The Cougars return to the links tonight when they travel to Monrovia for their WCC opener.

At Old Hickory

North Putnam 153, Rockville 172, Turkey Run 173

North Putnam -- Whitaker 37, Malayer 37, Byrd 39, Burns 40, Redman 41, Smith 47.

Rockville -- Powell 36, Cunningham 44, Troutwine 44, Barrett 48, Bryant 54, Herrick 55.

Turkey Run -- Wrightsman 42, Smith 42, Milligan 44, Stonebraker 45, Brown 45, Cook 50.

Next match -- The Cougers travel to Monrovia tonight at 4:30.

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