The Pomona-Pitzer golf team opened the season with an eighth-place finish in their first SCIAC match but have since made great strides.
Their second competition saw a collective improvement of 22 strokes, which landed them another eighth-place finish and within striking distance of SCIAC glory. With their scorers bunched within five strokes of one another, the team finished just two strokes off sixth-ranked teams Occidental and Chapman and within 20 strokes of SCIAC-leading La Verne. A similar improvement over the final SCIAC matches could see the team hunting for top honors and definite respect within the conference.
“The way we’re going to work our way up the SCIAC standings is by everybody improving, playing smart and playing how they are capable of playing. We don’t need any one player to carry the team. We just need to see incremental improvement from all our players,” Kyle Schneider PO ’14 said.
The team is anchored by senior captain John Hasse PO ’12, who has battled for top honors individually within SCIAC. In the team’s opening match, Hasse PO ’12 took fifth place overall and finished just three strokes behind leader Bobby Holden. Hasse was awarded second-team SCIAC honors as a junior during the 2011 season.
The improvement in team standing and the potential for a rise in SCIAC is due more to an overall team ethic of improvement rather than any one player’s efforts. Each player has dropped their score by at least three strokes during the season.
The young team continued their trajectory at their home course March 26, scoring a season low 302 points and finishing sixth overall, within seven strokes of a tightly bunched top five teams.
The team had the tightest spread of scores among all teams, with Schneider finishing with 74 strokes, Gabe Romero PO ’12 with 75, Hasse with 76 and Chandler Jennings PO ’14 with 77.
“It was nice to play a course we were familiar with, especially since we were able to choose where we want the pins to be on the greens,” said Schneider. “Similarly, the SCIAC Championships are at the same course as last year, where our team played well. Our team should have some familiarity with the course and be able to excel at the end of the season when it counts.”
Such team development bodes well for the future, especially for a team that returns three players who have scored thus far from their squad for next season.
While other teams battle amongst themselves, P-P golf is making strides from the back of the pack. If they keep improving at the pace they have shown they can, the other teams better take note.
Relying on a tight pack that improves together has brought them far, which Schneider attributes somewhat to the nature of playing golf for a team that practices off-campus.
“It’s odd playing a sport that takes place completely off campus. Not a lot of people on campus are aware of our existence, so we really appreciate any support that we get,” Schneider said.
This dynamic might just be the magic behind the team’s meteoric rise.
“The way we work together and support one another is a definite contributor to our success,” Schneider said.
The Sagecock team has two more regular season meetings and then concludes April 23 on the Diamond Valley course in Hemet, CA.