Newtown High School’s golf team returns all of its top golfers from last year’s squad, and the Nighthawks are hoping their experience on the courses pays dividends this spring.
The Nighthawks are led by captains Bubba LeBlanc and Vivek Tedla. Other top golfers back in the fold are Graham Hubbert, Josh Houle, and Colin Patrick.
“It’s going to be a good year. We have a great group of guys,” Tedla anticipates.
The Nighthawks went 9-7 a year ago, and placed fifth in the South-West Conference. Likely the top team they’ll encounter, in the eyes of Coach Bill Flood, is Pomperaug of Southbury, which beat Newtown twice in fairly close matches a year ago.
The Hawks will strive to turn some of their hard-fought defeats into victories this time around. Among last year’s setbacks were nail-biting two-stroke losses to New Milford and Weston. Flood is optimistic that, with hard work, his team can be in the mix among the best in the conference.
Team members have been focusing a lot on individual components of the game in preseason this year. Some emphasis is being put on the short game, with team members devoting a half hour to an hour to their short hits and putts in each practice.
“We’ve got a really good ball-striking team. We need to be better with our short game and our putters,” Flood said. “We feel that’s what let us down last year.”
LeBlanc and Hubbert earned All South-West Conference honors a season ago, and Tedla is a four-year varsity team member who hasn’t missed a match, in part giving Flood confidence in his team’s chances in the SWC. “We’re the only team with everybody returning,” he said.
The rest of the lineup includes juniors Tommy Rahr, Jimmy Widmann, and Jacob Burden, sophomore Mike Macchiarulo, and freshman Mike Meyer, all of whom stand to have a chance to work their way into the lineup with strong showings in practices.
The match to circle on the schedule is on April 30 when Newtown is slated to visit Pomperaug. After a long winter, the Hawk golfers are ready to tee off, chip, and putt their way to some victories on their way toward the postseason.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” LeBlanc said.