Warriors primed for ’99 links battles
The Whittell High golf team opened its regular season Friday at Hawthorne’s Walker Lake Golf Course. Without a set team and without much practice time, the Warriors rose to occasion with an impressive third-place finish to start the 1999 season.
“It’s a real good start. It was a nice day and I’m glad we got the first match out of the way,” Bruno said. “I was pretty pleased for as little practice time as we’ve had.”
Whittell came in third out of 12 teams, trailing Truckee and Manogue in the top two spots.
“There is definitely potential and room for improvement with this team. With a lot of competitive players pushing each other, that’s going to help us a lot,” said Warriors coach Frank Bruno, in his first season with the team. “We have a chance to have a good team, not only this year, but for the next couple of years.”
After opening the season last Friday with a nondivision match against Hawthorne, the Warriors travel to Yerington next for a contest March 18. The team practices at Genoa Lakes Golf Course (in Genoa) and may host a tournament at Stateline’s Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course before season’s end, Bruno said.
One of the keys for the Warriors in ’99 will the performance of junior Dustin Fox, the team’s lone state tournament qualifier last season. Fox, who also plays for the Whittell basketball team, consistently shoots in the high 70s and comes from an accomplished golfing pedigree: His father, Randy, is the head professional at Genoa Lakes Golf Course.
“Dustin has been playing for while and he has a pretty good all-around game,” Bruno said. “He should do well in this league. He has three years of varsity level experience and he should be a leader on this team.”
Fox was the low medalist for Whittell Friday, scoring an 81 over 18 holes, good enough for fifth overall. Fox got off to a slow start with a front-nine 43, but rallied for a 38 on the back nine.
Bruno will also look to senior Todd Echan, another Warrior hoops alum, to put up some low scores this season. A low to mid-80s shooter, Echan has the potential to score even lower if he can work on a few parts of his game, Bruno said.
“Todd is a real strong player. He needs to slow (his swing) down just a bit and manage his game a little better,” he said. Echan scored a 92 Saturday. “He has plenty of power. He just needs to harness it and he can be a real strong all-around player”
Sophomore Keith Truswell will also have a good chance to contribute with this year’s team. Bruno hopes Truswell can make improvements on what is already a solid all-around game. Rounding out the lineup will be freshman Ryan Solomon, sophomore Matt Lincoln and junior Jayde Haynes.
In division matches, only the top six play, with the five best individual scores counting for official results. Bruno said he expects to keep 12 to 14 players on the team and believes his top three golfers will be fairly secure from week to week. The competition for the bottom three spots should make the team better, he said.
Coach: Frank Bruno, first-year head coach
Key Returning Players: Dustin Fox, Jr. (1998 state tournament qualifier); Todd Echan, Sr. (1998 state tournament alternate), Keith Tresswell, So.
Top Newcomers: Ryan Solomon, Fr. (shot a front-nine 38 in a recent practice round at Genoa Lakes GC)
Probable Starting Six: Dustin Fox, Todd Echan, Keith Tresswell, Ryan Solomon, Jayde Haynes, Matt Lincoln
Betcha Didn’t Know That!: Frank Bruno was a former principal at Zephyr Cove Elementary School and began the first Whittell golf team in 1974
He Said It: “We just need a little break from the weather, and we’ll eventually get some practices in and see where we stand as a team.” – Frank Bruno
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