AMELIA – Goochland Golf kicked off the 2019 season Thursday with a three-team road match in Amelia, finishing runner-up to Central Lunenburg 188-197 but besting host Amelia 197-207.
Senior Jackson Raines, junior Kyle Goff and senior Walker Murray – the latter of whom Goochland Golf head coach Knox Milligan noted “has definitely improved a lot since last year” – led the Bulldogs with scores of 46, 47 and 48, respectively. Junior Bibby Raines shot a 56 in the season opener to join her teammates in Goochland’s top four. Freshman Gintas Putinas was not far off, shooting a 57. The medalist was Central's Cole Williams, who shot a 37.
With last year’s freshman standout Cole Pollard transferring to Trinity Episcopal, Goff, Raines and Murray are projected to be Goochland’s top three on the golf course.
Milligan noted that the Bulldogs are going to “lean on those three pretty heavily.”
“I think for sure: Walker, Jackson and Kyle…their scores, we need them to count every match,” he said.
He pointed to the golf experience of returners Goff and Raines, and he added that Murray has been catching up quickly.
“That’s been a really nice surprise watching him hit the ball over the first couple of practices and this first match,” Milligan said of Murray.
There’s plenty of multi-sport experience on the team, as Goff, Raines, Murray and Cole Bashinski are all among the student-athletes who play for both Goochland Baseball and Goochland Golf.
“We have a bunch of baseball players on our golf team…they keep the mood light and refreshing; they take golf seriously when they’re out there playing, but...they enjoy the sport,” Milligan said. “It makes it fun to coach, too.”
He’s looking for consistency as the season progresses.
“I think we have some kids that have the ability, but they need the repetition and they need the practice,” Milligan said. “With those two things will come consistency within the matches, so we just need to get them out there swinging the golf club and learning the game.”
He’s also looking to see which of the young players step up into the fourth, fifth and sixth spots.
“Those three spots, I think it’s open to six people,” he said, “so we might have a lot of people play.”
Overall, Milligan is looking for his players to improve, have fun and hopefully keep up with the game of golf after high school.
“With these guys, they enjoy the game,” he said, “and that’s what makes it fun.”