Boys varsity golf finishes in fourth place at the OK White Conference Tournament with more to prove at the upcoming regional tournament


At the OK White Conference Tournament on Thursday, two FHC golfers finished in the top ten. It didn’t start out pretty for some of the boys, but they recovered as the 18-hole tournament progressed to guide FHC to a fourth-place finish.

Right off the bat, freshman Nicholas Notarnicola and junior Joe Murdock couldn’t find the fairway on par threes. Joe hooked his tee shot out of bounds on hole one, while Nicholas left his tee shot short because he went with the wrong club. The blunder didn’t stop there for both golfers, as Nicholas double-bogeyed on the second hole, significantly affecting his mojo going into the next set of holes. When head coach Paul TenEyck saw Nicholas was struggling to move on, he gave Nicholas a helpful tip to calm him down.

“Coach TenEyck told me to play a song in my head and calm down,” Nicholas said.

This sensible yet straightforward piece of advice registered well with Nicholas once he understood his first nine holes didn’t define his whole round, and he clawed his way back on his last eight holes to finish tied for eighth place with Forest Hills Northern’s Tyler Gillespie. Specifically, he started to make smarter club choices and focused on keeping a blank mindset. In Nicholas’s eyes, his ability to shoot an 80 after shooting two-over par on the first two holes will be an asset for regionals next Tuesday.

“I think that my bad start today and a really good finish is going to motivate me for regionals because it shows me that even after nine bad holes off the start, you can still pull in a good round,” Nicholas said. “This round will stick in my head whenever I’m not playing well and give me motivation during regionals that I have to capability to finish strong.”

Unlike Nicholas, Joe’s experience on a stage such as the OK White Conference Tournament was valuable when his ball was going in every direction except for straight. Since Joe shot his first tee shot out of bounds, his whole round was in jeopardy because of how stacked the OK White is. Along with his triple bogey on one, Joe doubled ten with a three-putt. From there on out, though, Joe recovered to the point where he finished tied for fifth with Jack Seufert from East Grand Rapids. A 78 would be a blessing to shoot for anyone; however, Joe, the number three overall golfer in the OK White, critiqued the two holes that set him back.

“Overall, I played a pretty good round,” Joe said. “I had two holes that set me back too far for me to recover from, a double and a triple, and poor execution was the reason for playing poorly on them. I got myself back on track and didn’t let it affect the rest of my round.”

Although Joe didn’t swing the club the way he would have liked to on a few holes, coach TenEyck was pleased to see Joe’s competitive spirit come out.

“Joe has had a solid season; I think Joe would admit that he was hoping to play better than he did,” coach TenEyck admitted. “That’s what makes Joe a great competitor and golfer because golf is a game where you can never be satisfied or complacent. If you do, you will slip backward.”

It’s now or never for the boys varsity golf team—either they perform well at regionals, or they don’t. Hopefully, for the boys’ sake, their fair share of sloppy starts is behind them. Now that they have gotten a taste of postseason action and now that some of them have had to persevere through a few bad holes in a critical tournament, coach TenEyck thinks that his team will carry the most important lesson they learned at the OK White Conference Tournament into regionals on Tuesday: stay in the moment.

“I think we did a much better job staying in the moment because when you start looking ahead, that is when trouble usually hits,” coach TenEyck said. “We did not let bad holes/shots derail us as we did early in the season.”