The high school golf season tees off this week and the William Byrd team has a bunch of new faces in the lineup as well as a new coach. Scott Whitehead replaces Kevin Tuck, who stepped down after last season.
Whitehead is no stranger to the team, as he assisted Tuck for the past six years. He’s also been a softball coach with the Byrd program for a dozen years, so he knows his way around the school.
“I’ve been texting back and forth with Kevin,” said Whitehead. “He taught me a lot during our time together. One thing he was good at was he would let the golfer know what the options were, then he would let them make the decision.
Scott says he’s a 10 handicap player himself, better than some but not as good as others.
“I’m not a swing coach,” he said. “My strength is in helping with the decisions, resources and the mental aspects of the game.”
Ben Watts has joined up as Scott’s assistant, and he’ll play much the same role Whitehead played with Tuck. The group has only been together since Monday but Byrd already had a match at the Botetourt Golf & Swim Club on Wednesday and will have another at Blue Hills today.
As for the players, the Terriers lost four of their top five players from last year’s Conference 24 champion team. The top returnee is unquestionably sophomore Bryce Corkery. He was the medalist in the conference tournament as a freshman, shooting a one-under-par 70. He was ninth in the region and is coming off a busy summer.
“He was two-over(at Blue Hills) the first day of tryouts and he wasn’t happy with that,” said Whitehead. “He’ll be a consistent number one and whoever is playing best at the time will fill in two through six.”
Gavin Mullen, another sophomore, played some six last year and should be near the top of the ladder this fall. The rest of the lineup will come from seniors Beem Sareekum, Greyson Nunley and Madison Horacek, sophomores John Catron and Mason Stanley and freshman Chris Blankenship.
“Some of these kids are pretty new to golf, but their scores will improve with practice,” said Whitehead. “I’m looking forward to this. I enjoy spending time with the kids and helping them, and I’m excited to have this opportunity.”
Next week the Terriers will play in the Bob McLelland Metro Tournament. The two day event will be held at Hunting Hills on Wednesday, August 9, and Blue Hills on Thursday, August 10.