Sophomore Jackson Courtney continued his torrid start to the season, shooting 29 points for the second straight match, and the Marriotts Ridge boys continued to show why they are the early Howard County favorites on Tuesday afternoon at Hobbit’s Glen.
The Mustangs, who have mixed in all six of their guys now through their first two outings, hit 93 points for the second straight match to cruise past Howard and improve to 2-0. Courtney’s two-under-par round and an even-par 27 points from junior Bennett Buch highlighted the 93-77 victory.
A Marriotts Ridge team that was expected to be the county’s deepest squad has certainly lived up to the hype so far.
“The pleasant surprise has been how well Jackson is playing. He’s a guy coming into the season we were expecting to be our No. 3 and so far he’s been putting up the best numbers in the county. That’s great to see,” said Marriotts Ridge golf coach Mark Dubbs in regard to Courtney, who averaged 24 points a match as a freshman. “I knew our depth would certainly play out and it’s been as good as advertised so far.”
On Thursday against the Lions, Nick Mejia (19 points) and Mike Walker (18) rounded out the scoring for the Mustangs (2-0).
The team effort helped hold off a Howard team that had three guys score in the 20s. Greg Cherry led the way with 22 points, followed closely behind by Shashank Gupta (21) and Sean Higgins (20). Nolan Dunnigan rounded out the scoring with 14.
Courtney’s round was kick-started by a birdie on the first hole. After a bogey on No. 3, he rebounded with two more birdies coming in on holes five and nine.
“Overall, I’ve been playing pretty well lately, hitting the ball good and putting well. Keeping the ball in the fairway is the biggest thing for me,” Courtney said. “Last year I feel like I really didn't show who I was and I’ve taken it on this year to do better than what I did,”
Buch, who led the county last year with an average just under 27 points, picked up right where he left off in his first action of the fall. He made one birdie (on No. 2) and one bogey (on No. 3) on his way to an even-par score.
Mejia, who was the county-champion last year as a freshman, got off to a rocky start with a triple bogey on the second hole and a double on the fourth before steadying the ship to shoot 19. Walker also bounced back from a rocky start to make no worse than bogey over his final seven holes.
As a team, Marriotts Ridge is chasing a third straight state title this fall. In addition, the team is looking to repeat as county champions.
“I feel like we are kind of the team to beat this year and I think with that there is some pressure on us to live up to what we did last year,” Courtney said. “I think everyone just expects us to be even better. I think the nice thing is that it’s not just one guy, though. We’re all pushing each other and, on any given day, we’re all capable of shooting under par.”
Howard, meanwhile, saw some positive strides even in defeat. The team, which scored 10 points more than in its season-opening win over Long Reach, showcased the ability to keep things relatively close against a powerhouse opponent.
“The boys are committed to being one of the top teams in the county and they have that drive. I think days like today let them see some of that potential we have and I think that’s big for us moving forward,” Howard golf coach Joshua McGoun said.
Marriotts Ridge 93, Howard 77
MR (2-0): Courtney 29, Buch 27, Mejia 19, Walker 18.
Ho (1-1): Cherry 22, Gupta 21, Higgins 20, Dunnigan 14.
Glenelg 90, Hammond 25
G (2-0): Segrist 26, McAuliffe 23, Lee 22, Aberscuto 19.
Ha (0-2): Edwards 13, Sarich 6, McDonald 3, Mitchell 3.
Centennial 62, Atholton 61
C (1-0): Hunter 23, DeCunzo 14, McShane 13, Sterenberg 12.
A (1-1): Rosenthal 18, Osterman 18, Robinson 17, Stevens 8.
River Hill 80, Oakland Mills 33
RH (2-0): Gold 21, Burman 21, Green 19, Frydenberg 19.
OM (0-1): Steplowski 12, Carroll 9, Clyde 7, Claxton 5.
Reservoir 67, Long Reach 39
Re (1-1): Kim 21, Yang 20, Banks 18, Teodori 8.
LR (0-2): Gates 12, Batolotta 10, Doshim 9, Spotte-Smith 8.