All-county boys golf: Wilde Lake's Silberberg nearly perfect

In the golfing world, perfection is an elusive term.

Even for the best players, there's always that score that could have been lower, a swing that could have been better or another putt that could have gone in. Perfect is what everyone chases, but never obtains.

Yet, as Wilde Lake's Tyler Silberberg can attest, one can come awfully close.

As a junior this fall, Silberberg put together one of the greatest seasons ever by a county golfer.

He came within one putt of the county record for best regular-season scoring average, finishing at exactly 28 points per match (1-under par for nine holes). He won the county title by two shots, finished fifth at the District V tournament and then put an exclamation point on his season by winning the state title by three strokes.

"When you look at what my goals were coming into the year, it was about as close to perfect as you can get," Silberberg said. "Sure, I would have loved that scoring record and I could have played a lot better at Districts, but I played a lot of really good golf.

"And winning states, that's as good as it gets."

With his back-to-back rounds of 71 at the University of Maryland golf course, Silberberg became the first county golfer since Atholton's Joe Vennari in 1980 to win an individual state championship.

He had been trailing by two shots entering the final round and had fallen behind by four after double-bogeying his first hole on day two. But his ability to bounce back from a bad hole, which ultimately led him to the title, is what Silberberg's coach Diane Caporaletti says was the most improved part of his game this season.

"He's matured and learned how to make something good come from adversity," Caporaletti said. "He took frustration, something in the past that would have gotten to him, and let it make him better."

Silberberg entered the season with high expectations after earning Player of the Year honors as a sophomore, yet he exceed them nearly every step of the way.

He bettered his county-leading scoring average from last year (25.8) by more than two shots (28.0). He never shot worse than 26 points (1-over) in a match all season and set a new high school personal-best with a 30-point day (1-under) against Marriotts Ridge.

"That round against Marriotts Ridge was really fun," Silberberg said. "Not only was it my best high school round, but it was great match that we pulled out as a team."

Coming into his final regular season match, Silberberg needed a round of 28 points to tie Oakland Mills' Donnie Shin (28.1 in 2005) for the all-time scoring mark. His putt on No. 9 just missed, however, and he settled for a 27-point day.

At the county championship tournament, where he had finished third the year before, Silberberg prevailed down the stretch to beat teammate David Yancich by two shots with a round of 54 points (1-under).

Silberberg's title also helped Wilde Lake capture the county championship tournament team trophy, building on a runner-up team finish during the regular season.

The following week at districts was the low-point of the season, as a round of 75 and a fifth-place finish ruined any chances of a postseason sweep. Still, Silberberg was undeterred and more than made up for it a couple weeks later at the state championships.

With the bar now set at an all-time high, the question now becomes what can Silberberg do for an encore?

"It's hard to top this season, that's for sure," Caporaletti said. "But Tyler's committed to getting better every day and challenging himself as a player. That's what makes him so good.

"He knows there's always something he can improve."

Named to the first team all-county squad are:

Connor Flach, Centennial. It was a year of tremendous progress for Flach, who was coming off a successful summer leading up to his junior campaign. That seemed to carry over for him right away, as he started the year with an even-par round of 27 points and never slowed down.

He finished with a scoring average of 26.2, which was second best among county boys and 1.9 points better than he put up as a sophomore. At the county tournament, he finished fourth (49 points), but the real highlight of the season came the following week at districts. Playing at his home course of Fairway Hills, Flach put it all together for a two-under-par round of 68 to win the District V title by four shots. He then wrapped everything up by finishing tied for ninth at this year's state tournament.

Matt Forester, Glenelg. As one of the county's most consistent players, Forester had plenty of highlights this fall. At the top of the list, though, was undoubtedly his effort in the final tri-match of the regular season against Centennial and Marriotts Ridge. Putting up 27 points, his best score of the regular season, Forester led Glenelg to a sweep that secured an undefeated record and first place in the final standings.

Overall, Forester finished with one of the county's top five scoring averages (23.4). He lived up to that standard at the county championship tournament by posting 46 points to place fifth. At districts he shot an 83 to help Glenelg win the 1A/2A division and then wrapped up his season with back-to-back 83s to finish in the top 60 individually at the state tournament.

Henry Ko, River Hill. In his first year with the team, Ko made an immediate impact to keep the Hawks above .500 this fall. He was the model of consistency from day one, scoring 19 or more points in all but one regular season match and finishing as the team's leading scorer on six different occasions. His final scoring average was 20.8 points.

The postseason didn't contain any spectacular rounds, but he continually played solid golf. He put up 43 points at counties to finish tied for seventh, then followed it up with an 80 at districts to tie for 13th. At states, he was even better with back-to-back rounds of 78 to finish tied for 22nd, one of only three county golfers in the top 25.

Steven Segrist, Glenelg. The Gladiators' freshman immediately became an elite player this fall. In just his first high school match he shot a 2-under-par round of 29 points in a win over Reservoir, setting the stage for the rest of the year. He finished with a scoring average of 23.9 points, fourth best in the county, for a Glenelg team that went undefeated during the regular season.

At the county championship tournament, he finished tied for ninth with 42 points. Then the following week at districts, he put together his best round of the postseason. Segrist shot a 76, finished tied for sixth and was the Gladiators leading scorer on the way to a 1A/2A District championship.

David Yancich, Wilde Lake. It would be unfair to say that Yancich came out of nowhere to finish second at this year's county championship tournament. After all, the Wildecats' junior was among the top 10 scorers during the regular season this fall with an average of 21.7 points a match.

But Yancich's round at the Timbers at Troy Sept. 27 was easily the best of his career. With four birdies over his final 13 holes, he shot a round of 53 points to finish second and give Wilde Lake the one-two punch it needed to pull out the county championship tournament team title.

During the match schedule, Yancich twice posted nine-hole scores of 26 points.

Chris Yoo, Marriotts Ridge. Now a three-time first-team selection, Yoo was the lone holdover starter this season for a Marriotts Ridge squad that had made two straight trips to the state tournament. Under his leadership this fall, the young Mustangs were able to keep the streak alive.

Yoo finished the regular season with the team's top scoring average, ranking among the top three in the county overall with 25.7 points a match. His best round was a 28-point day against Howard. He posted the third best boys score (50 points) at counties, before shooting an 83 at districts. He finished up his senior season with back-to-back rounds of 82 at the state tournament to finish just outside the top 50 individually and help the Mustangs finish second as a team in 1A/2A.

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