Joe Murdock puts some of his recent struggles behind him and secures a first-place finish at Railside Golf Club

Joe Murdock puts some of his recent struggles behind him and secures a first-place finish at Railside Golf Club

Last Wednesday, junior Joe Murdock’s ball hit the pin and lipped out, denying him a hole-in-one. As he walked to the next hole and eyed the previous one, he watched Forest Hills Northern’s Jack Zubkus shoot a devastating hole-in-one on the same hole. Joe putted 39 times and had one of his worst performances on the green the following day. On Monday, at Railside Golf Club, Joe was a first-place medalist with an even-par 36 at an OK White Jamboree hosted by Byron Center.

“I kept myself in the right frame of mind and didn’t make the game harder than it had to be,” Joe said. “I hit 8/9 greens in regulation and mostly two-putted them to have 7 pars, 1 birdie, and 1 bogey.”

If someone were to look at the scoreboard before hole five, Joe’s name would be bunched together with several other golfers tied for first. However, he flipped a switch midway through on the fifth hole by slivering in a 15-foot putt for birdie, which gave him a boost of confidence heading into the final set of holes. Then, on the last hole, Joe got a huge up and down to save par and squeeze out a one-stroke victory ahead of junior Brayden Elzinga from Byron Center and sophomore Drew Veldman from Lowell. 

Back in 12th place, freshman Nicholas Notarnicola shot a 42 to even out the scorecard for FHC. Coming off a quick exit at the Ranger Invitational on Thursday, Nicholas found his swing pretty easily and appeared not to suffer from missed time on the course. Rounding out the top three on the team leaderboard, senior Jermey James and freshman Philip Murdock notched a 45 to anchor the Rangers to a respectable third-place finish among other OK White foes.

Skipping ahead to Wednesday, head coach Paul TenEyck and his band of golfers head to Quail Ridge to play in their first dual match of the season against Grand Rapids Christian. Coach TenEyck thought that some of his golfers putted well and some didn’t at a tough Railside course, so he wants to see fewer mishaps on the green on Wednesday.

“The greens were very tough at Railside,” coach TenEyck said. “A few struggled while others putted much better, so I still want to see more consistency when it comes to our play on the greens.”