Mercer Island boys golf works on mental game during league wins

George Jiranek swings on the first hole during the Islanders’ home meet against Lake Washington last week. - Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter
George Jiranek swings on the first hole during the Islanders’ home meet against Lake Washington last week.
— image credit: Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter

The Islanders boys golf team kicked off a week of golfing in gorgeous weather with a non-league game against Seattle Prep, before taking on Lake Washington and Newport, last week.

Against Seattle Prep, a team that Islander coach Tyson Peters expects to see in the postseason, the boys played a six-man match game instead of the typical stroke set up.

“It didn’t go as well as we hoped, but it wasn’t bad,” said Peters. In match play, players are paired with a partner from the other team against whom they compete during the game. For each individual victory, a team gets a point.

“We don’t get to play [match] very often, and some of them played well and others not so well,” said Peters.

Varsity players Charlie Kern and Brandon Shin each won their matches, while teammates Kyle Code, Kirby Ingram and George Jiranek lost their matches against Seattle Prep. In the final pairing, Peters said that Crawford Leeds was tied going into the 16th hole, but because of outside circumstances the players had to stop, calling a draw, giving each school half a point, which pushed Seattle Prep to the top.

“It was a good look at a team which will probably be in the top five at state,” said Peters. “We matched up well, and it showed us where we needed to keep working to get where we need to be.”

Prior to the match against Lake Washington, Peters said the team has been focusing on preparing its mental side of the game, working on course management and having a strategy before heading onto the course.

“Golf is a game of math, not just hit and play,” he said. He added that, especially on a team with a lot of younger players, they’ve worked on committing to a course of action and sticking with it, and dealing with the consequences.

“Seventy-five percent of it is mental,” he said.

The team finished with 189 strokes against Lake Washington’s 219. Sophomore Kern and Grant Otter each finished at the top of their team with 36 strokes. Ingram, a senior, was third with a 38, Leeds finished fourth with a 39 and there was a three-way tie for fifth place between Jiranek, Evan Thompson and Lake Washington’s Max Bunnell, who all shot a 40.

Mercer Island is still looking forward to the Oct. 5 game against Woodinville, keeping the big picture in mind as it faces other opponents along the way.

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