Newcomer Key earns respect Westminster, Liberty on upswing GOLF OVERVIEW


Francis Scott Key golf coach Bill Welch had a script carefully outlined for the Eagles' inaugural season.

The idea was for the players to enjoy themselves, maintain their enthusiasm and slowly get adjusted to the pressures of competitive golf.

An early-season win wasn't in the plan, but that didn't stop the Eagles from doing just that against Liberty in their home opener Thursday at Bear Creek.

"It was a real big surprise," said Welch. "I just hope the kids have fun and stick with it. It's very intimidating playing competitively. I'm very pleased with the way the boys are putting it together, getting used to the competition and getting used to the pressure."

In Thursday's win against Liberty, all six of his golfers played over their average led by medalist Bryan Brilhart and Mike Darr -- both of whom are freshman.

Welch, an art teacher at Key who has played golf for 25 years, kept a 10-man roster out of the 17 athletes who came out. The others on Key's first golf team are juniors Mike Paterson, Jason Deeds, Brad Jenkins, David Swain and Andy Hummel, along with sophomores Steven Webb, Bill Steel and Mike Null.

"This first year is a learning experience. We're going to get everybody in to play and give them a chance to get in some pressure situations. I just tell the guys 'Lets have fun with this.' " Welch said.

Key is the third school in Carroll County to have a golf program, joining Westminster and Liberty.

The Owls are the veteran team of the trio and are off to a 3-0 start. Coach Jeff Ibex has a good mix of experienced players and talented newcomers with a lot of depth. Ibex is relying on Matt Laczkowski, in his fourth season, along with fellow senior Chad Mathias and juniors Zach Taylor and Chris Long.

The talent doesn't stop there. Ibex has a couple of others who shoot in the low- to mid-40s. "We had the dry spell two years ago with just the one win and then finished .500 last year. We knew we were building toward this," Ibex said.

Senior Ben Bosley, a first-year player, and sophomore Ryan Angell are other key components.

Liberty has five of its top six golfers returning from last season and the Lions are making strides. The Lions are relying on Andrew Harrison, Jason McDermott, Josh Godman, Doug Wanzer and Shawn Jensen with some healthy competition going on for the sixth spot.

Lion coach John Magee said his top three golfers are shooting in the low- to mid-40s in practice, but Harrison's 47 is best in match play.

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