The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association golf season will find players and teams adjusting to a revised scoring system and, at times, chattier play.
Applying stricter U.S. Golf Association rules, the MIAA has adopted a new points system that allows for a team to earn a maximum of 21 points instead of the previous 18.
Essentially, in addition to each golfer being able to score a point for winning the first and last six holes, each pair of golfers in all three groups can earn an extra point for their respective teams through a best-ball scenario.
And having the best-ball match now allows for each twosome to talk to one another during competition, something prohibited before.
While most MIAA coaches agree that the scoring change will not favor one team over another, if experience matters, then Loyola appears to have plenty of it.
The deeply talented Dons figure to set the pace in the MIAA A Conference, led by the return of John Jeffries and Mike Bosica as No. 1 and No. 2 players, respectively. Both are heady players and bring excellent short games.
Dons coach Marty Stewart has strong competition for his team's last four spots.
"The kids really worked on their game in the off-season," Stewart said, "and they can make up for any mistakes."
But Loyola figures to get stiff competition from a number of teams, including St. Mary's, which moved up from the MIAA B Conference and brings back eight seniors, John Carroll and St. Paul's.
John Carroll lost just one player from last year's 11-1-1 team that finished runner-up to Gilman for the conference championship. Junior Chuck Brueggemann and sophomore B.J. Muth are a young but formidable top two, and freshman Tom Watson is a budding talent.
St. Paul's is better prepared for league play after finishing 8-6 in its first season in the A Conference since 1988.
Behind No. 1 player Ben Phelps, a sophomore with a handicap of one, coach Rick Collins has a versatile group, which includes senior Steve Colnitis, a Nike All-American.
"There was an adjustment for us last season with moving up to the A Conference," said Collins, whose teams previously won four B Conference championships in the 1990s. "I think the kids know what to expect now -- it takes birdies to win holes at this level."
Both Gilman and Calvert Hall will regroup after being hit hardest by graduation. Both teams lost five seniors but aren't lacking quality players.
Gilman still has a steady top duo in juniors Danny Schochar and Teghi Singh. Calvert Hall's top six include four underclassmen. Calvert Hall also moved its home course to the Country Club of Maryland, a rolling course with fast greens.
St. Mary's move to the A Conference evens the playing field in the B Conference.
Severn, which finished second in the league last season, returns four seniors who can shoot in the 80s.
Archbishop Curley coach David Ball and McDonogh coach Wright Abbott both said they have their strongest teams in years. Senior John Marsilio leads the way for the Friars and consistently hits the fairways, which is important with Curley's home course now at Sparrows Point Country Club.
Mike Drapkin and Scott Feldman hold the top two spots for McDonogh, and freshmen Stephan Krug and Justin Jarvis could qualify for either seed.
A breakthrough season is in order at Archbishop Spalding. With the school's fourth team, coach Chris Phillips has seen noticeable development among his top three players, and the Cavaliers are boosted by Christy Larrimore, the Mid-Atlantic Junior champion who will play at No. 5.
"Christy will be a tremendous asset to our team," Phillips said.
Juniors Jamie Lamar and Sean O' Neill, both at 6-foot-3, are Spalding's No. 1 and No. 2 players, respectively, and each has sharpened his game and shown improved poise.
Boys' Latin coach Trey Gelston has better performers at his No. 4 through No. 6 spots than last season, which should mean better results for a team that finished 1-11 a year ago.
Pub Date: 3/25/99