By Carey Phillips

 

Smoky Mountain’s men’s golf team will open its season Monday with a nine-hole match at Laurel Ridge Country Club.

Another nine-hole match is set for Wednesday at Waynesville Country Club.

“Practice has been going good,” Coach Zeb Capps said. “We’ve had smaller numbers because of basketball, but we expect two JV players to come out.”

The only player back from last year’s team that placed fourth in the Mountain Six Conference is sophomore Stahle Wyatt.

“I’m excited about have him as a returner,” Capps said. “We’re going to be very young and inexperienced.”

The only others out for the team this far are two newcomers – junior Hunter Pressley and sophomore Ben Manka.

“Stahle came on stronger toward the end of the year,” Capps said. “He was scoring in the low 90s. As a freshman, you’re learning how to navigate things. It’s a different type of pressure at a match. I expect him to step up more in a leadership role this year and guide our kids in the right direction. He knows what’s to be expected of them day in and day out.”

Capps said the team’s main goal is to win a conference championship.

“We obviously have a lack of experience, but our goals are the same,” he said. “Winning a conference championship was one of the first things our kids listed when we talked about goals. We’ve got kids who want to compete and are excited to be there. We’re not going to be outworked.”

The schedule is as follows:

March 2 – at Laurel Ridge; 4 – at Waynesville; 17 – at Mill Creek; 23 – at Maggie Valley; 26 – at Mill Creek; 31 – first round Mountain Six Conference Tournament at Maggie Valley.

April 2 – at Connestee Falls; 23 – second round MSC Tournament at Connestee Falls; 27 – third round MSC Tournament at Mill Creek.