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Last season the East Greenwich golf team had to play their way into the state tournament after finishing the regular season in third place in the Central Division.
This spring the Avengers could very well find themselves in the same position.
The Avs kicked off the season Tuesday with a 166-238 victory over Warwick Veterans on a blustery day at Warwick Country Club.
While 166 is a solid score for a first match, EG coach
Marc Brocato feels his team could be capable of much better marks this season.
â€śThey really need to start to come around as a team but only time will tell,â€ť he says. â€śIn golf itâ€™s very black and white, you either shoot a number or donâ€™t.
â€śâ€¦I think the best is yet to come. I expect them to be shooting in the high 30â€™s and low 40â€™s.â€ť
Itâ€™s rare that you can graduate two players like Chris Gallogly and Jason Peduto and expect to be as good â€“ if not better â€“ than you were a season ago but the Avengers could be in position to do just that.
Senior captain Ryan Browne will take over at the top of the lineup and early on Brocato has seen a seasoning to Browneâ€™s game he had been missing the past three years.
â€śHeâ€™s matured as a golfer and person throughout his career and heâ€™s come a long way to be named a senior captain,â€ť Brocato says. â€śHe deserves it and heâ€™s handled himself really well. I couldnâ€™t be more proud of him.â€ť
Browne has always had all the shots to be a great player but according to Brocato is now figuring out the mental approach that is essential to success.
â€śRyanâ€™s got all the talent in the world,â€ť Brocato says. â€śHe hasnâ€™t always had the best head on his shoulderâ€™s either but heâ€™s finally arrived.
â€śRyan is finally learning how to shoot a 37 while only hitting two greens. That comes with maturity. Some kids get that at certain stages and Ryan thankfully has become a more mature player.â€ť
Senior Rob Cressman â€“ who posted a 42 in the opener â€“ will join Browne as a captain this season.
â€śRobbieâ€™s a captain as well and heâ€™s really come along way,â€ť Brocato says. â€śHe was an extremely quiet kid as an underclassmen and heâ€™s shown some good leadership qualities.â€ť
Junior Sam Badeau joins the team having played baseball the last few years and already has shown himself to be a top player in the Avengersâ€™ lineup.
â€śItâ€™s funny,â€ť Brocato says, â€śbecause I had him in class as a freshman and Iâ€™ve always tried to get him over to the golf team. Heâ€™s a strong player.â€ť
Sophomore Monica Brennan â€“ who finished 17th at the girls individual state championship last season â€“ opened the season with a 45 Monday and is one of the more promising female golfers in the state.
â€śMonica hits the ball great,â€ť Brocato said. â€śHer driver is the best club in her bag. If she could get her irons to match that would be a big improvement for her.
â€śSheâ€™s a pretty quiet kid but Iâ€™m hoping that her competitive juices come out a little more to match her talent.â€ť
Rounding out the Avs lineup will likely be a group of underclassmen.
Sophomore Austin Vutech and freshman Ian MacDonald started the year playing at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, while sophomores Danny Depetro and Brandon Barnes could push for a top six spot as well.
EG was back in action Wednesday against Pilgrim and Hendricken (results unavailable at press time) and will wrap up the first week of competition with its home opener today at 3 p.m. against Cranston East and Toll Gate at Potowomut Golf Club.