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Though the high school golf season has just begun, David Lancaster can point to a wealth of experience as reason for optimism.
The York Comprehensive High School boys golf coach lauds the returning players in assessing the talent level this season.
“This will be my most experienced golf team in my four years coaching Cougar golf,” Lancaster said during last week’s Region 3-AAAA match with rival Clover.
“Most everyone has match and tournament experience at the high school and South Carolina Junior Golf levels,” said Lancaster. “Many also work on their golf year-round with area golf pros and instructors at the local courses.”
Lancaster said the Cougars have nine returning golfers, including five starters led by senior two-time all-region golfer Luke Lancaster, who along with seniors Logan Aggeles and Stroud Baker and sophomore Austin Hall, played in last season’s AAA golf tournament in Conway.
“We added three talented newcomers to our roster following the most talent-laden boys golf tryout in York in recent years,” said YCHS coach. “I had a difficult time making my final selections.
“All the young golfers were very good.”
Lancaster said the team’s goals this season are threefold:
• “To bring our golf match-playing attitude and focus to practice each day and play smart golf always.”
• “For our seniors to mentor and share their golf and classroom experiences with our younger Cougar golfers throughout this season before they head to college in the fall.”
• “To be consistent in our play throughout the season leading up to a strong showing in the Region 3-AAAA Tournament in Lancaster and to qualify for the upper state and Furman state tournaments in May.”
The 2013 Cougar golf roster includes seniors Luke Lancaster, Logan Aggeles and Stroud Baker and junior Will Culp, who is one of three newcomers.
Sophomore participants include Austin Hall, Chandler Sain and newcomer Andrew Laney, with freshmen Chayce Blackwell, Damon Heath and newcomer Tucker Laney rounding out the high school participants.
Eighth-grader Seth Miller and seventh-grader Landon Joye, the team’s third newcomer, are the other Cougar golf participants.
Senior stalwarts Luke Lancaster and Aggeles speak in positive tones in discussing their outlook for the 2013 season.
“We’re making progress,” Lancaster said. “We usually get better as the season progresses. I think it will all come together as we keep playing.”
Lancaster said he’s playing with confidence at this stage of the season.
“I feel better about my putting than any phase of the game so far,” he said. “We will continue to work hard as a team.”
Aggeles, who’s played organized golf since the seventh-grade, will tell you flat-out that golf is for him.
“I love the game,” he said. “It’s fun and relaxing.”
Aggeles is more confident driving the ball off the tee.
“Chipping and putting are phases of the game you always work on,” he noted.
Aggeles said he has improved his game since his first couple years of high school golf. “Some of my teammates help me with my swing,” he said.
He looks for the Cougars to compete in Region 3-AAAA competition this season, with the seniors playing a major role.
“Players are stepping up, including Austin and Stroud,” Aggeles said.
Though the Cougars fell to Clover 157 to 165, Luke Lancaster was match medalist with an impressive one over par 37 score.
Other Cougar scores were Hall, 41; Aggeles, 42; and Baker, who finished at 45.
The Cougar linksmen conclude a busy week, competing in the Tee-Off Classic Saturday, hosted by Ninety-Six High School at the Star Fort Golf Club.
The YCHS golfers will compete against Rock Hill Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Rock Hill Country Club followed by the Thursday Stallion Classic at Pinetuck Country Club, where the action begins at 11 a.m.