Nicholas Notarnicola and Joe Murdock guide the boys varsity golf team to a sixth-place finish at the Kent County Championships

Nicholas Notarnicola and Joe Murdock guide the boys varsity golf team to a sixth-place finish at the Kent County Championships

Rounding out the taxing three-day stretch of tournaments this week, the same duo that shined on Tuesday in the Forest Hills Invitational turned back the clocks and clashed neck-and-neck with Kent County’s best golfers in the Kent County Championships. Junior Joe Murdock shot a team-high 79, while freshman Nicholas Notarnicola shot an 84, notching the Rangers a sixth-place finish overall in the 18-hole competition.

“I think mostly I’m working on controlling my mindset after a bad hole because I struggle with that a lot,” Nicholas said when asked what he still needs to work on as a young freshman on varsity. “I feel like the more varsity matches I play in, the more I’ll improve my mental game and the more I’ll start to train myself to forget about a bad shot.”

It seems as if Nicholas’s mental game is already improving, as he finished 18th overall amongst golfers much older than him. If all goes according to plan, Nicholas’ name will start to be a familiar one in the MHSAA golfing world. 

“Nicholas has been playing golf for a long time, so he isn’t a stranger to big golf tournaments,” Joe said. “I’m just glad to have the opportunity to give him some tips on how to lower his score because I was in his position during my freshman year.”

Just as Joe’s willingness to become a leader this year has blossomed this season, so has his prowess on the fairway and the green. It goes without saying that it has become a popular theme for him to finish in the top ten on a regular basis; he continued this theme of dominance by striking his way into a comfortable number seven position on the leaderboard at the Kent County Championships. Considering the amount of top-end talent that played at Thornapple Pointe, the home base for the championships, Joe’s placement among the field of other golfers proved he belongs at the top of the hill.

Given that these previous three tournaments were played during high school testing week, it is a blessing that head coach Paul TenEyck and the Ranger birdiemen are not slated to play another match until next Tuesday, April 20th. Throughout the history of golf, big putts usually decide the fate of big contests. With that philosophy in mind, coach TenEyck holds onto the notion that his squad still has some room for improvement in that department.

“We still need to work at being more consistent on and around the greens,” coach TenEyck stressed. “Hopefully, we can take advantage of this upcoming break and practice our execution on the greens.”