By BRIAN JENNINGS
Maturity is what Southington coach Jim DiNello said he is starting to see out of his guys after the Blue Knights (5-0) remained undefeated on the season with two wins this past week, posting their best score of the season at home.
“There’s really no substitute for experience,” the coach said. “Our top four guys are seniors and have been competing against really good golf teams in really important matches since they were freshmen and sophomores. It takes a little bit of time, but I really don’t think anything fazes those four guys right now.”
Southington began the week at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford on Monday, April 25 where they defeated NW Catholic (1-5), 166-175.
Ryan Burrill and Andrew Rogalski tied as the medalists of the match, each recording 39s (3-over-par). Andrew Szandrocha followed with a 42, and Jake D’Alessandro shot a 46.
Justin Mathew led the Lions with a 40.
A couple days later, Southington recorded their lowest round of the season in a 144-151 victory over Farmington at Hawk’s Landing Country Club. All four of Southington’s starters stayed in the 30s for the third time this year.
Rogalski tied Farmington’s Brendan Fagen as medalist by firing a season-low of 34 (1-under-par). Burrill and Szandrocha trailed with 36s, and D’Alessandro contributed with a 38.
“They’re excited to play and they like the challenge now,” said DiNello. “They all realize that they’re good players. The relaxation factor of having been through it now for a few years has led to experience. And really, experience helps.”
DiNello said that he has been impressed with his players’ thought process on the course.
“They’re not just getting up and hitting the ball,” the coach said. “They’re thinking about where they want to miss if they miss. They’re managing their games. All of them have a very good understanding of what they do well. They play to their strengths and don’t try to do more than they’re capable of doing.”
Southington continues to climb the rankings, but rather than putting too much focus on the upcoming state tournament, grinding it out every day and staying within themselves has been DiNello’s goal.
“I don’t think they’re looking that far ahead,” said DiNello. “I think they know that they can actually go lower, collectively. And the really neat thing is that they really pull for each other hard. They want each other to do well, and that helps. They want to support and play well for each other, and not so much for themselves. That’s key in any team.”
The Knights will look to stay undefeated this week against Windsor (0-6), Bristol Central (4-3), Simsbury (3-3), and Glastonbury (1-3).
Southington is currently fourth in the CIAC’s Division I rankings with a course differential of 16.48, behind Darien (12.233), Simsbury (15.086), and Fairfield Prep (15.911).