Ace in the hole?
Published 1:01 am, Thursday, April 15, 2010
The longtime golf coach knows he possesses a talented, competitive roster, but acknowledged the Blue Wave could use an "ace" if the team wants to fulfill its aspirations of competing with the likes of Greenwich and New Canaan.
"The team this year, for us, is characterized by balance, depth and experience," O'Donnell said. "And if one of the kids can emerge as one of the top five players in the league, then I think we can compete for those league championships."
"If we have it this year it will be one of those three kids," O'Donnell said. "The question is can they do it day in and day out?"
That trio impressed O'Donnell at the end of last season, each playing some of their best golf in the FCIAC championship. Winter tied for fourth at FCIACs, shooting even par (71), while Westcott and Fahey each shot four-over (75) -- a DHS career best 18-hole round for each.
"Those three kids are proven commodities and on any given day can play very well," O'Donnell said.
Whether one of Darien's captains emerges as a top-end player once the team hits the links depends on their ability to play consistent golf.
"Consistency's the key for everyone," said Fahey, Darien's only player to make the Holahan Invitational. "It's eliminating the high numbers that we're working on this year."
Four players are competing for the remaining two roster spots, all of whom have significant varsity experience. Junior Chris Carmody and sophomore James Burgoyne have opened eyes throughout the preseason.
"There's no one who's really that new," Fahey said. "Everyone's got some experience (on the varsity level)."
"I'm very confident that these other kids can give us solid play at the varsity level," O'Donnell said.
Darien's depth gives the team confidence it can compete in the perennially tough FCIAC. The Blue Wave has belief it can finish better than its 11-6-1 record and sixth place finish at FCIACs in 2009.
"There are definitely much higher expectations that last year," Winter said of the Blue Wave, which placed fifth at the Division III State Championship. "We have the best team we've had in a while. ... We have as good of a chance this year as we've had in a while."
Darien gets off to a late start in 2010 because of spring break. The Blue Wave open the season against Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday, April 20, at the Country Club of Darien. The Blue Wave then have a couple weeks to hone their games before getting into the teeth of the schedule against Greenwich, which returns Player of the Year David Pastore, on May 10.
"I know that we'll be a good team," O'Donnell said. "Only time will tell if we'll be an elite team."