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Connellsville golfers eye improvement

| Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, 11:59 p.m.
Tyler McFadden is expected to be one of the top competitors for the Connellsville golf team this season. (Jason Black | Daily Courier)

In terms of wins and losses, the 2011 golf season was not a successful one for Connellsville. However, a rough 2011 might serve as a building block for a team that has plenty of experienced starters returning this season.

“My top four guys I've had since they were freshmen, and now they are juniors,” Connellsville coach Brent Rockwell said. “They should be my core.”

Juniors Tyler McFadden, Colt Miller, Jonathan Grinko and Ryan Burkholder were regular starters last year who return to the lineup this fall. Rockwell likes being in a situation where he has experienced players dotting the roster.

“It's nice knowing that they should be solid, but it all depends on how they play,” Rockwell said. “They are knowledgeable about the game, and it's just a case of applying it on the course.”

Rockwell is also hoping that his team can perform better when the pressure is on. Connellsville managed just two wins in section matches last season.

“In practice rounds, they've done well,” Rockwell said. “But once we got into a match, everybody would start to tense up. I'm hoping that our experience helps with that.”

Connellsville will again compete in Section 2-AAA. The only change to the section this season is that Elizabeth Forward has replaced Mt. Pleasant.

“Hopefully, we can be competitive in the section,” Rockwell said.

The Falcons do have depth, with a roster that features 17 golfers. He's expecting his four returning junior starters to step up and take starting positions but noted that several positions are still up for grabs.

Based on practice-round scores, seniors Mike McFadden and Colton Cortese, as well as junior Tanner Kirsch, have the inside track on playing in the fifth and sixth positions.

According to Tyler McFadden, the team can be competitive.

“We're hoping to shoot around 200 with the top guys in the low 40s and high 30s,” Tyler McFadden said, noting that several team members used the spring and summer to improve their game with practice rounds and lessons at Nemacolin Woodlands. “We're getting better, and hopefully, we will have a stronger year.”

Improvement is definitely on the minds of everyone involved with the team.

“We just want to have a better record from last year, even it's just by one win,” Rockwell said. “We want to try to pull it all together.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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