Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 22
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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EVEN PAR: Princeton High senior golfer Brian Dunlap displays his driving form. Team captain Dunlap’s even-keeled leadership and steady play helped PHS post an 11-6 record in dual matches this spring as the program went through a transition year after winning Group III state titles in 2007 and 2008.

PHS Boys’ Golf Weathers Transition Year; Sees Championship Form on the Horizon

Bill Alden

Sheryl Severance didn’t know what to expect from her Princeton High boys’ golf team coming into this spring.

Having lost a stellar group of seniors that helped the program win two straight Group III state titles, Severance knew that she could be in for a rocky year.

“I didn’t quite know how the new guys were going to do,” said Severance. “Most of them had been on JV the year before and they didn’t see much play in terms of matches.

But with two of the new starters, Marshall Crane and Matt Lesnik, producing some big rounds and veteran stars Fraser Graham and Brian Dunlap providing stability, things went smoother than Severance expected.

“My general assessment is that I was pleasantly surprised,” said Severance, whose team went 11-6 in dual matches and took sixth in the Mercer County Tournament. “I think our highest average was around 45; we had a lot of guys in the low 40s.”

Sophomore Crane had a nine-hole average of 43.4 and was the team’s low man on occasion.

“Marshall had a good year,” said Severance, who got some good play from juniors Conor Finn and Scott Schwarz.

“He wants to do well; I hear he is playing at Springdale everyday. I think there will be a big improvement. He was a little inconsistent at times. He would shoot a 40 or a 41 match and then the next day be at 48.”

Freshman Lesnik showed some flashes of brilliance. “Matt did well for a freshman; he had some 40s and 41s,” added Severance. “He plays a lot with his dad. He is very serious about his game; he is going to a bunch of camps this summer.”

Sophomore standout Graham proved to be PHS’s most serious competitor. “Fraser is going to be a really good golfer for us,” said Severance of Graham who had the team’s best average with a 39.2 mark and was second in the individual standings in the county tournament with a 72.

“He will be one of the top golfers in the county next year. He is a natural athlete; he is also a very good hockey player. He is very serious, very competitive. He really worked on his short game and putting this year. I saw him a lot on putting green; he also gave his teammates some mini-lessons.”

Senior captain Dunlap also passed on some valuable lessons to his teammates.

“Brian is a really good leader; he helped keep everyone involved and unified,” asserted Severance, who got good contributions from seniors Zach Kleinbart and Chris Yang.

“He kept our group together. He started this thing on the bus where each player would talk about his best shot and his worst shot of the match. We had a huddle before every match and we could depend on him for words of wisdom.”

Dunlap gave the Little Tigers some fine play to go with his leadership, posting the team’s second-best average with a 41.5 mark.

“Brian is a good golfer, he had a very respectable season,” added Severance. “His strength is the mental part of the game; he is even keeled and he doesn’t get flustered. He also hits a nice long ball.”

In Severance’s view, PHS could be a very nice team next year.

“As long as they stay serious, I think we’ll be good,” said Severance.

“Having Fraser at the top of the lineup is great; he is very consistent and he is a huge motivator for the other guys.”

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